Nanaimo Ladysmith school district’s Long-Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) was last completed on September 2, 2015. The previous plan focused on addressing 13 years of enrolment decline and the associated loss of revenue that results from fewer students. The April 26, 2017, ‘Becoming Sustainable’ Facilities Plan Update, which was an update to the 2015 LRFP, recommended school closures and consolidation as one of the strategies to reduce annual operating costs, reduce future capital expenses, and identify capital assets for future consideration.
As a result of implementing these recommendations, we are now on a much stronger financial footing. One of the strategies employed, at the time, was the closure of facilities not required for school space needs.
The district’s circumstances have materially changed since the last LRFP update. In addition to being on stronger financial footing, NLPS is now experiencing enrolment growth following 13 years of decline. NLPS has added a significant number of classroom spaces to meet the needs of the school community and to meet the requirements of the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling on classroom size and composition. Both of these dynamics have led the district into a future requiring additional space to support optimal teaching and learning.
Changes to the 2015 National Building Code (NBC2015) reflected significantly increased assumptions for ground force motions from a Cascadia Fault subduction event off the west coast of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. Specifically, the expectations are for more intense shaking on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii (more than 2x the intensity in some regions) than previously assumed, as well as greater impacts in areas with soft soils, specifically Richmond. Three secondary schools and 29 elementary schools in NLPS have recently been re-assessed and identified as requiring seismic upgrading. By comparison, only three schools had been previously been identified under the old building code guidelines.
As a result of these changing circumstances, NLPS is beginning the next phase of facilities planning and is looking for input on the development of our LRFP, which along with the Board’s Strategic Plan, will guide its vision and decisions in respect of facilities, over the next 10-15 years.
The fundamental premise of an LRFP is to provide a mechanism for districts to demonstrate they are managing their facilities in an effective, economic and efficient way in support of their long-term educational goals. This review is designed to set out a long-term vision for the delivery of education in the district and how facilities support meeting this vision. With concrete vision and strategies, the LRFP will directly inform the district’s annual Capital Plan submission for funding from the Ministry of Education.
These are important considerations for the District, and the Board of Education is hopeful that the public participates in this process over the up-coming months. NLPS wants to hear from its partners, community members, parents and local governments as we gather feedback to inform our decisions.
On July 10, 2020, the Board of Education launched the LRFP survey. Click here to begin the survey