The Quesnel School District has hired an architect firm to help build the new Quesnel Junior School (QJS), and stakeholder meetings are expected to take place in the near future.
School district secretary-treasurer Jennifer Woollends provided an update on QJS to the board of education at its Wednesday, Oct. 23 meeting.
“CHP Architects is the architect that we picked,” she said. “They are the leading architect firm in B.C. for middle school design, so we’re excited to be working with them. We toured a number of their schools that they built in the last eight years, and we’re excited to see what they bring to the table for us.”
Woollends says district staff has had their initial meeting with CHP, and the architects are working on draft plans.
“We are hoping to announce soon the stakeholder dates, which will be in the next few weeks,” she said.
Woollends says they will be breaking ground in fall 2020.
B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming announced in late July that the provincial government is providing up to $52.2 million to replace QJS with a brand-new facility at the site of the current Maple Drive Junior Secondary School. School District 28 (the Quesnel School District) is contributing $150,000 towards the project, which includes the addition of a new neighbourhood learning centre that will provide child care and other local community programming.
The new school will be two storeys and will have room for 550 Grade 8 and 9 students. Construction is expected to be finished in time for students to start at the new school in September 2022.
The current Maple Drive school will be demolished once the new school is open to students, and the funding from the Province will cover the cost of demolishing that school, as well as the cost of demolishing the old QJS building in north Quesnel.
During the board meeting, Woollends was also able to provide an update on the demolition of the old QJS school.
She says they will be awarding the contract for the demolition in the next few weeks.
“They are just closing the bidding process, and hazmat [hazardous materials] work will happen first and probably take us through to the spring,” she said. “It will be next summer before you’ll see the building come down, late spring, early summer.”
The contractors will try to do the demolition as “green” as possible, explained Woollends.
“The goal is to try and salvage as much as possible from the building and recycle it and reuse it and re-sell it where they can,” she said. “So all the metal, all the copper wiring, anything wood within the building will be chipped and sold or given to people who can use it, even the cement from the building, as it’s chewed up, there are uses for that and there are people who are looking to use it, so as much as they can possibly recycle and reuse, they’re going to do it. We’re trying to put as little into the landfill as possible.”
Woollends says the Quesnel Volunteer Fire Department has contacted them and asked to use the building for training later this month.