An open house will be held on Nov. 16 to solicit public feedback on plans for the Mountain View Elementary site.
“It’s an opportunity to see where the plans are going, what kind of feedback we’ve already received, and we continue to seek more feedback,” said superintendent Mike Hooker.
Several options for re-development will be shown at the open house. They all include keeping the heritage school building and maintaining some park space and a playground.
The school district has been working with consultants Donald Luxton to develop plans for the new school site.
A report presented to the Revelstoke Board of Education last week looks at the community priorities in the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan that relate to the school. They include seven high or very high priorities such as maintaining green space, developing affordable housing, incorporating community use into decisions about repurposing the old school, exploring heritage designation, and considering the opportunities for conversion as an arts centre, conference centre, or condo conversion.
“There’s lots of interest so I would expect the Nov. 16 open house would get lots of feedback,” said Alan Chell, the chair of the school board.
The report also pegs the price of restoring the historic school building at $1.5–2.5 million, depending on the proposed use.
“It’s clearly a substantial investment to be considered with what to do with that building,” said Hooker.
The school is not designated as a heritage building; Luxton is working on a statement of significance to have the building added to the heritage registry.
The open house is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m at the community centre
Meanwhile, the city has submitted applications to re-zone and sub-divide the former Big Eddy Elementary site, and is waiting for City Hall to complete the applications.
“We’re really appealing to the city to get moving on our request,” said Hooker. “They’re slow, they said they’re sorry they’re slow and it isn’t happening and we’re behind, and that’s about where we’re at.”
Enrollment drops below 1,000
Revelstoke School District enrollment is down to less than 1,000 students, with declines at every school except Columbia Park Elementary.
There are 239 students at Begbie View Elementary (down from 257), 207 students at Columbia Park Elementary (up from 202 students) and 114 students at Arrow Heights Elementary (down from 126). There are exactly 400 students at Revelstoke Secondary School, including 11 international students.
Despite all that, the class sizes have remained fairly stable, said superintendent Mike Hooker.
The average class size for kindergarten is 16.7, for grades 1–3 is 19.8, for grades 4–7 is 25.1, and for grades 8–12 is 22.2.
“Our class size at the high school is really outstanding, to have that low a class size,” Hooker said, noting that RSS was still able to offer a full range of courses despite the continuing decline in enrollment.
“That is a struggle for small schools to offer a full range of courses in things like shop class, drama, to things like Physics 12 and Calculus 12,” he said. “Those are things small schools struggle with and we’re still managing to provide those for students.”
At Arrow Heights, the low enrollment has meant the school only has five classes, which are all split grades. Grades four and five, and grade six and seven, have both been combined into one class.
At Begbie View, there are nine straight grade and three split classes and Columbia Park has five straight grades and four split classes.
Hooker said having split grades can be an advantage when placing some students. “There are kids who will fit better for different reasons and will be better off in a one or a one/two,” he said. “So you organize the class in that way and you say that have the choice between classes is a great opportunity because that offers us more choice in how to group kids.
“When we’re making the classes up, that gives more choice for the teachers to see where is the kid at, what does he need.”