Two very important meetings

Last week we talked about the Planning for the Future 1 and 2 documents, both of which put forward the idea of having a K-12 school in Rossland. Another SD20 document which needs revisiting is the Project Identification Report —Rossland Secondary School, from May 2009. This report was prepared for the school district by Bob McDonell, of MQN architects — the same architect who designed the new J.L. Crowe building — to analyze the renovation or replacement of RSS, either as a K-9 or K-12 school.

Last week we talked about the Planning for the Future 1 and 2 documents, both of which put forward the idea of having a K-12 school in Rossland. Another SD20 document which needs revisiting is the Project Identification Report —Rossland Secondary School, from May 2009. This report was prepared for the school district by Bob McDonell, of MQN architects — the same architect who designed the new J.L. Crowe building — to analyze the renovation or replacement of RSS, either as a K-9 or K-12 school.

From Project Identification Report — Rossland Secondary School:

Site Evaluation: “The MacLean site on its own is too small to accommodate the expected facilities for an elementary school of its size and no viable options for significant expansion are available.”

Grade Configuration Evaluation: “It is important to consider for a K to 9 school the cost to transport and accommodate the grade 10 to 12 students at J.L. Crowe. At least two portables will be required at Crowe, with Capital, moving, and operating costs as well as daily bus transportation for approximately 115 students.”

Recommendations: “The Grades 10 to 12 population cannot be accommodated in J.L. Crowe Secondary in Trail in the foreseeable future without additions to that school or long term use of Portable Classrooms. The grade 10 to 12 students from Rossland should be accommodated at a combined Rossland K to 12 School. A new K to 12 school for Rossland has the highest Capital Cost, but the second lowest Life Cycle Cost of the Options studied. A new Rossland K to 12 should be constructed to accommodate the full population of students from that community. Further consideration should be given to Partnership opportunities with the City and Community of Rossland and with SD #93 [Francophone school district].

Zone Facilities Plan: “It does not appear feasible to contain the full grades K to 7 population of 268 students in 2012/13 within the existing MacLean Elem. [Note – Rossland currently has 270 K-7 students, we are adding full-day kindergarten next year which will need one more room, and Strong Start has been added to the school since this report was written. The current projection for K-7 for 2012-13 is 297.]

“J.L. Crowe Secondary can not likely accommodate 200 additional students in the foreseeable future without the addition of up to six portable classrooms. Given the expectation of stabilizing enrollment levels beyond 2015, this would be a long term issue.”

“Given the present populations compared against the existing capacity of Rossland Secondary, it is feasible to convert the existing school to K to 9 or K to 12 configurations with minor renovations to adapt to the elementary population.”

Planning for the Future 1, Planning for the Future 2 and this Project Identification Report all need to be revisited by the school board staff and trustees. They all have valid, pertinent information, which seems to have been pushed aside once the Planning for the Future Facilities Report was released.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING MEETINGS:

The Neighbourhoods of Learning community meeting will take place Tuesday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the RSS Gym. We plan to have representatives from other K-12 schools at the meeting to help us understand how their schools work and the opportunities and benefits of a K-12 school.

The school board’s Planning for the Future Focus Group Meeting for Rossland takes place the next night, Wednesday, March 2, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the RSS gym.

With all the attention and momentum that is now focused on our schools, it is imperative that we as a community stand together and ensure our children’s education stays in Rossland for the long-term, and that we end the debate once and for all. The meetings are being held two nights in a row, which is a heavy schedule, but it is imperative that as many Rosslanders as possible attend both of these meetings. Please mark these important dates in your calendar!