After over a year of in camera negotiations and very few public announcements, at Monday’s School District 20 (SD20) board meeting, trustees announced that they were ready to sign their side of the sales contract.
The building is being sold to the Blueberry Creek Community School Society (BCCSS), but while some details on the sale, like the purchaser, have been made public, some, like sale price, are not being released until later this year.
There are still some aspects of the transaction that aren’t final.
“Although we have agreed to sign the document, we don’t know if they will also agree to sign the document,” said Darryl Ganzert, board chair, adding that all will be revealed in the new school year. “It is not really a done deal yet. A motion is going to come up at our very first meeting in September to disclose all the terms of the sale. That includes price, and any other conditions that were put on the (transaction).”
The building has been in the hands of SD20 for many years with its most recently built structure opening in 1962. After years of renovations, and additions, the doors closed in 1986 due to low enrolment numbers. In 1991, it was reopened for regular classroom teaching and was named a community school in 1997. The doors were formally shut for SD20 students in 2002, and the building has since become a community services hub, offering after school and summer programming and camps for youth, adults and families.
Ganzert says it is a good thing that the building is changing hands. When budget time has come around, the board has had a hard time justifying big spending on a structure that doesn’t hold SD20 students during regular class hours.
“Quite honestly, we were faced with a very old building that needs some TLC and without students in it, we were hard pressed to put any money into it,” he said, mentioning that the BCCSS needs a space to continue their work with residents of the area. “With a society that serves close to 500 families from Castlegar and even some from Trail, now at least, someone who has an interest in keeping the building in good shape will have it. We believe they will continue doing the good work they have been doing for many years.”
The next SD20 regular board meeting is in the new school year on Sept. 28, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre.