SD73 hoping to buy property in Aberdeen for potential new schools

The Kamloops-Thompson school district is looking to buy property for potential new schools in Aberdeen to combat increasing enrolment projections.

“When we look at the city’s official community plan and the growth estimates we know we’re going to need more school space and in upper Aberdeen we don’t have any other school site,” SD73 facilities director Art McDonald said.

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Sans property in the area, the school district must purchase a lot.

To do that, the Ministry of Education requires SD73 determine, with the City of Kamloops, the estimated number of homes that will be built over the next decade and how many students that equates in the area to demonstrate the need for a new school there, McDonald said.

“From that we would determine if we need one or more elementary schools, do we need a new high school by then et cetera,” McDonald said.

The district would need to determine an approximate school location and cost estimates, which would be sent to the ministry in SD73’s annual capital plan.

At some point after that — when and if the ministry gives its approval — SD73 would require the city implement a school site acquisition charge, which would be applied to new homes sold in the area.

“We take that money from the city and we put it aside so that when the ministry actually approves buying the site the local district has something to contribute,” McDonald said.

SD73 may make that capital plan request to the ministry for Aberdeen this coming spring, and has been in talks with the city about the school site acquisition charge.

“That’s where we’re headed,” McDonald said. “I don’t want to say for sure one way or the other because we are planning, but we’re definitely getting to the point where it will happen at some point in the near future.”

Once the ministry approves a future site purchase, then the charge will begin applying to new builds, McDonald said.

At the moment, he said, the district is trying to figure out exactly how many applications for new schools it will make to the to the ministry, and Aberdeen is major growth areas in Kamloops in the city’s official community plan.

According to the plan, Aberdeen will continue to be the largest area for single‑family and low‑density development in the city.

Between 2017 and 2039, the city anticipates the Southwest sector of the city to make up 43 per cent of Kamloops’ population growth with 5,920 projected to move to the area.

© Kamloops This Week


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