Only about a dozen people came out to get an update on the Gibsons Elementary School (GES) rebuild and give their input on Sept. 19.
During the brief 45-minute meeting the public heard about the process to find a builder, projected timelines and some specific components that must be included in the new $14.3-million school.
The school will have enough room for 300 students as well as a Neighbourhood of Learning (NLC) component. The NLC will use 15 per cent of the building for a daycare, a multi-purpose room with a kitchen and offices for health screening and family support services.
“The idea of the NLC, what the Ministry’s trying to achieve, is to create a facility that we’re using year round, rather than just during the school year,” said project director Jim Alkins.
GES principal Deborah Luporini said a daycare was a specific need identified early on.
“We met probably about 18 months ago now. There were about 25 to 30 people from the community including everybody from the early childhood planning table to public health, mental health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, the school district partners, and that was identified, the fact that there is a challenge with daycare spaces,” Luporini said. “That was a critical component of the project, so it will be a public daycare. It’s been designed so it’s got a 0-3 unit and a 3-5 side and it will operate 12 months a year.”
How the rest of the school will be configured is yet to be decided upon. Design and layout ideas will come in a few weeks, after a request for proposals (RFP) is sent out.
School District No. 46 (SD46) has short-listed three proponents and the RFP will go to those three builders. The three architects short-listed are Bouygues Building Canada Ltd., DGS Construction Ltd. and Stuart Olson Dominion Construction Ltd.
From there SD46 will evaluate and select their preferred builder and then negotiate a design/build agreement. SD46 expects that agreement to be signed by January 2013 with building to start immediately after. They hope to have the new school open to students by September 2014.
“Those proposals actually come to the evaluation team. We have a set of criteria that we will evaluate them against and come up with a suggestion of what’s the best plan for this site. What’s the proposal that gives us the best value for the money? Then, once we get to that point, we then zero in on that one key proponent who gives us the best proposal and we’ll have negotiations with them,” Alkins added.
Where the new school will sit on the current GES site is yet to be decided, but it is certain the current school will remain during the build, making that location off limits.
“We’re basically trying to deal with what’s the best way of placing a new school on here, keeping the existing school operating, and so that’s one of the criteria,” he said.