A “more realistic” design for a sportsplex beside Smithers Secondary School will be released to the public in March according to Bulkley Valley School District 54 superintendent Chris van der Mark.
“The architect in the first rendition put everything that we were interested in… and when you start to do the math on that you go well that’s great, but we certainly can’t pull that type of a project off. You start looking at a $9-10 million project if you go down that route,” said van der Mark, describing the first draft as a starting point.
The primary focus is still to have a year-round facility with turf for soccer and rugby, and a walking track, multi-purpose classroom space, and an option to add basketball and volleyball courts in the future.
Two versions, one with two levels and another with one, will be drawn up by Vancouver’s KMBR Architects Planners Inc. according to van der Mark.
Declining enrolment could hit budget hard
It was also revealed at last Tuesday’s school board meeting that enrollment is down again this year.
Funding for this school year will not be greatly affected because of the province’s enrollment protection, but next year’s budget will take a hit if the 15-year trend continues.
There are 118 fewer students in Bulkley Valley schools than in December 2013.
That number represents $1.1 million in funding according to board vice chair Frank Farrell.
He said schools in Houston and Smithers have seen a drop in enrollment from declining birth rates, but that the school district is finding ways to ensure programming is not negatively affected.
“We have a mechanics course in Houston for example, and we’re busing people from Smithers to go into that course… I think more of that might occur in the future in terms of some course at one school that other students in other schools can come and take part of,” said Farrell.