Walnut Park Elementary School. (File photo)

Walnut Park rebuild on track for September 2021 opening

On top of renovations the new building will contain a daycare with 42 childcare spots

Walnut Park Elementary School’s rebuild project is currently on track for a September 2021 opening, School District No. 54 – Bulkley Valley (SD54) has told The Interior News.

At their June 16 meeting district secretary-treasurer Dave Margerm said the budget for the project has been approved by the Ministry of Education.

A total budget of $34.1 million has been set for the rebuild, which includes both the construction of a new two-story building built with 21st-century learning in mind and a neighbourhood learning centre.

The facility will also contain a daycare that the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has said will provide 42 childcare spaces in the region.

Funding is coming from a number of sources, including the Ministry of Education ($29.2 million) and the MCFD ($2.5 million toward the daycare), with SD54 picking up the remaining $2.4 million of the bill.

At that same meeting, Margerm said that the nature of the budget should “allow the project to proceed without requesting additional funding.”

The project was slated to start in the Summer of 2020 after being pushed back a year at the District’s June 18, 2019 meeting.

The reason for the delay included overall project costs and land at the south end of the project which had not completed compression.

As the District highlighted in 2019, the cost of the project was not in alignment with the ministry’s budget at the time.

While the school is slated to be ready for September 2021 occupancy, SD54 has said demolition, new fields and community parking will be completed by June 2022.

All current dates are subject to current scheduling.

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