There was lots of laughter outside Carson Elementary School where dozens of students jumped, climbed and twirled on a new playground Wednesday, May 25.
Some Kindergarten and Grade 7 students were clearly disappointed after a crack of thunder meant an early end to their afternoon buddy time. They had been waiting a long time for the return of a playground after a landslide shut down former play structures behind the school in April 2021.
“They’ve been so fantastic playing without a playground all winter and making the best of our school grounds,” said principal Robyn Anderson, noting the importance of unstructured play.
“So when we finally got it just last week, it was very exciting, and they’ve been wonderful coming up with ways of making sure everybody gets their turn and sharing whatever different equipment pieces.”
The new movable playground is located to the right of the school where four portables have also been installed to replace the classroom block closest to the bank.
The school located at 1255 Graham Avenue continues to be regularly monitored.
Last fall, the Board of Education agreed to add Carson Elementary to the district’s list of facilities needing replacement and request major capital funding from B.C.’s Ministry of Education after a geotechnical release concluded while a large portion of the school is safe, it is not viable long term based on its current location.
In a May 18, 2022, memorandum to the Board of Education, Quesnel School District secretary-treasurer Jennifer Woollends noted that the district has been supported to move to the next steps in the process toward a replacement school for Carson Elementary.
Superintendent Dan Lowndes read directly from his memo regarding an update on the school at a regular board meeting held in person Wednesday, May 18, at the district office.
Lowndes said over the past 12 months, the ministry has provided approximately $1.1 million in emergency funding for the district to implement a safety plan to ensure Carson Elementary can continue to support student learning in a safe environment. He noted that those funds had been allocated to purchase portable classrooms, playground equipment, and other resources.
“The province is supporting School District 28 secure a site to replace Carson Elementary. We have identified a site that is the best option for students and families within Carson Elementary catchment. There is a process underway to acquire the land,” Lowndes continued reading.
“We are expecting a positive result but cannot further comment until the process has been completed.”
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