BY BILL PHILLIPS
If you were waiting for the big pre-election funding announcement for Prince George, it came this morning.
MLAs Shirley Bond and Mike Morris announced the province will fund $43.3 million of an estimated $44.3 million replacement of Kelly Road Secondary School in the Hart. School District 57 will pick up the extra $1 million.
For Kelly Road Road Grade 12 student Laura Parent, it was certainly welcome news, although she will have graduated before construction even starts.
“I’ve spent five long years at Kelly Road and I’ve loved every single minute of it,” she said Friday. “Even though I’ve love the building, it’s about time. I’ve seen carpets taped together, lights taped to walls, caved in rooves, so I’m excited to see this new possibility.”
She said she feels a little sentimental because part of the unique culture at Kelly Road is the fact the school is so old, 56 years old, in fact.
“There’s really something special about being able to wander the halls and point out where your parents had their locker and find their grad picture on the wall,” she said. “I look forward to the future and what a new school will bring.”
It was also a pretty exciting day for School District 57 chair Tim Bennett, who pointed out the replacement has been on the district’s list for quite some time.
“Kelly Road really has a sense of community,” said Bennett. “It has a great history in our school district. “We looking forward to move that sense to community to a new building.”
The project includes replacing the existing school with a fully accessible state-of-the-art building on the same site, with room for 900 students.
The new school will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. The interior will include lots of natural light, and large open and collaborative learning spaces to support B.C.’s new curriculum.
“Kelly Road Secondary has served as the only high school for northern Prince George for years,” said Morris. “Built in the early 1960s, the school has served many purposes and has seen many additions. It has served the community well and it’s now time to bring a new school in, designed to better suit the needs of today’s learner.”
Construction is expected to start in the fall of 2017, with students continuing to attend the existing school until the new school is ready. Once the new school is completed, the existing Kelly Road Secondary school will be demolished.
“As a former trustee I know how important this project is to our district,” said Bond. “This has been a high priority for many years and I am excited we are moving forward. This $44.3-million investment provides a state-of-the art school for students and teachers and will create local jobs. The new Kelly Road Secondary school will provide a modern, safe and inspiring place to learn, teach and work for years to come.”