School District 73 is confident safety and infrastructure concerns raised with the decision to re-open Westsyde elementary can be addressed now that the move has been approved by the board of education.
During a consultation process, SD73 staff heard concerns regarding student safety — drop-off and pick-up areas, speed zones and crosswalks the most notable — and resources for the school.
Assistant superintendent Rob Schoen told the board the City of Kamloops has “been co-operative and has been committed to resolving the concerns regarding speed zones and crosswalks.”
According to Schoen, the city indicated it will create a 30 km/hr school zone speed limit on Westsyde Road once the school at 3550 Westsyde Rd. is re-opened, in the fall, adding the Kamloops RCMP has agreed to run radar and monitor speeds once the changes have been made.
The speed limit on Westsyde Road is now 60 km/h.
Schoen said the city has also committed to consulting with Westsyde elementary’s parent advisory council to determine where and if a second crosswalk on Westsyde Road leading to the school is necessary.
Westsyde elementary has a built-in pick-up and drop-off loop for parents directly in front of the school door that, if used properly and not for parking, should adequately function as a convenient drop off space for parents, Schoen told the board. It is also estimated the majority of students being sent to the school will live within walking distance.
Schoen said he believes the $1 million being spent to renovate the school will address infrastructure concerns received from the community.
In addition to renovation work, slated to start this spring, capital expenses include $55,000 for the library, $50,000 for textbooks, $15,000 for office supplies and $30,000 for gym equipment. Westsyde elementary will also receive a prorated amount of school resources from David Thompson elementary, as well as the yearly per student funding all schools receive as part of their annual budgets.
Re-opening Westsyde elementary will require about $212,000 in additional operating costs to fund administrative, clerical and custodial positions, as well as utility costs, which will be re-allocated from current budgets.
School District 73 is re-opening the school in an effort to offset overcrowding in nearby David Thompson elementary, which is operating at 125 per cent capacity as per the Ministry of Education’s calculation that 341 students make up 100 per cent capacity in David Thompson elementary.
It is the smallest physical school in the district and has more than 400 students.
Re-opening Westsyde elementary will move an estimated 175 students to that school.