School is back in session and students at Bayside Middle School in Brentwood Bay have remained dry so far as a roof replacement project continues.
With 30 years in history of a leaking roof, it’s finally being replaced. Workers have been hard at work this summer, completing three parts of Bayside’s roof replacement project; the central core, the gymnasium and what’s called the north pod, located at the front of the school.
Those areas were subject to flooding during rain, a situation that has existed since the school was built three decades ago.
Those three parts will be completed some time this October.
“They’ll shut down for the bad weather and come back at it in the spring and do the three classroom wings,” said Superintendent of School District 63 Keven Elder.
The rest of the project will be completed some time in September or October of 2017.
Elder said from day one, including when he was a school administrator there, work was being done with the builder to try and get all the leaks repaired. The overtime, he said, accomplished all of what was needed for the first few years.
They soon realized however, that it wasn’t taking care of all the problems, so decided to look at a more long term solution.
Nothing was done, however, and it took a public campaign by parents and others at the end of last school year, to prompt action from the province.
The government had money to spend on long term remediation issues in B.C. schools but Bayside’s attempts to access those funds over the years were pushed aside for other provincial priorities.
“Last year, there was a fairly significant amount of pressure put on the government to look at Bayside because the leaks were becoming more pronounced and greater in number …” said Elder.
With the project originally estimated to cost $2.5 million, it ended up costing much more after engineers better determined the scope of the problem.
“They did find the bulk of the seven million dollars required and it’s being completely replaced from top to walls through the entire structure.”
The Province put up close to $6 million, while the school district used some of the close to $1 million it made from the sale of the old McTavish Road School last year.
Although the students were dry on the first day of school, there are a couple of water marks still showing.
“With any roof project, there will be a couple of wet marks here and there, and when the rain hit last week, there were a couple of places that they had to tend to but they were under construction,” said Elder.
“Students are dry and they’ll be dry for decades to come.”
This year will be a busy one for the school district as they’ve had a larger than usual number of major projects started or completed this summer, Bayside being just one of them.
“We’re just finishing the seismic upgrading of Parkland Secondary which was north of $10 million …” said Elder.
“With seismic comes remodelling of the school, so it feels really new after you’ve done a big seismic upgrade.”
They did the same at Cordova Bay Elementary, which had an additional wing added.
There are seismic upgrades underway right now at Lochside Elementary and a major renovation in the student services area at Claremont Secondary.
Currently there are three or four different projects under way at Sidney Elementary School: the conversion of the library into a learning commons; the office will be rebuilt and the front entrance will be ‘reconceived’; a new kitchen is being built for providing food services to students, and; what’s called a “makerspace” — a hands-on science work space for students — is also in the works.