Final approvals for a new elementary school in Abbotsford might finally see the light of day in the first half of 2019.
Ray Velestuk, secretary-treasurer of the Abbotsford School District, has been working back and forth for months with B.C. Ministry of Education officials on a funding request for the long-awaited Eagle Mountain elementary school, and he hopes to hear of approval by the end of June.
“I am very happy with the progression of this business case, and once the enclosed revisions have been applied, I will be developing the final funding request materials to see this project through to approval,” said Rob Drew, regional director of the ministry’s capital management branch, in an Aug. 17, 2018 email to Velestuk.
According to emails obtained by The News through a freedom-of-information request, the school district had reached its eighth revision to the funding application by November 2018.
“Typically with all of these projects, there’s a lot of back-and-forth with consultants and the ministry on finalizing the scope of work and finalizing the project budget … There’s a Jan. 11 version of the PDR (project definition report), and that’s the one we’re going from now,” Velestuk said.
“We’ve now submitted what we think is our final version to the ministry. We’re just waiting for the next step to come from them, which would be approval and a draft project agreement that would spell out the agreed-to terms between the ministry and the board around funding and etc., etc.”
Four months since the October election, no announcements have yet been made by the provincial government.
“I hope to hear something back for the end of June,” Velestuk said. “All I would say that we’re waiting for is the timeline around that. The project itself, I would suggest, is fairly imminent, but the actual date is the work in progress.”
Velestuk said while there have not been any architectural drawings done for the school, included in the PDR are things like consultant work done on the site, which was purchased as a future school site for $1 million in 1995.
Also included in the PDR is the square-metre cost of the project, the projected classroom space and the design enrolment of the school.
The district changed its plans in spring last year from asking for a $14 million school for 455 kindergarten to Grade 5 students to seeking a $20 million school for 580 students.
However, Velestuk now says the project is expected to be around 400 students in Grades 1 to 5 and 60 kindergarten students, totalling about 460.