Construction for the Walnut Park Elementary school’s replacement has started.
The new 440 seat-school is budgeted at $32.1 million with the Province contributing $29.7 million and Bulkley Valley School District will be contributing an additional $2.4 million.
“This is terrific news for students in Smithers who have spent too long learning in a school that needed serious-repairs and upgrades. THe new Walnut Park Elementary will be a vital community hub for families, while giving students a safe and modern place to grow,” said Minister of Education Rob Fleming.
According to a statement the school is showing signs of age and has structural deficiencies.
Construction on the new school began earlier this month and will be located on the northwest area of the current site.
The province said the new school will have open and collaborative learning spaces and will be built to highly efficient Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold standards.
“The board of education is pleased to support a new and innovative space for current and future students who will attend Walnut Park Elementary. Along with the new school comes a new daycare facility. Having an early learning centre attached to the school will be a benefit to the families and children in the community,” said Jennifer Williams Chair of Bulkley Valley Board of Education.
The project will include a neighbourhood learning centre and Strong Start Program on the school grounds.
The statement also said the province is working with the school district and the Town of Smithers to determine the best use of the neighbourhood learning centre.
The existing building will be demolished following the opening of the new school.