Students at Nakusp Elementary School are going to have a world-class playground at their school, thanks to a recent decision by the Arrow Lakes School District 10 board.

Trustees met in a closed meeting at the end of June and agreed to give $204,000 to NES’s Parent Advisory Council to expand a planned new playground for the school.

“The board was wholly supportive of using funds from operating surplus to enhance and build a special new playground at Nakusp Elementary,” said Chris Dixon, board chair. 

The PAC had come to the SD 10 June board meeting to ask for the extra cash. The parent group had earlier received $195,000 from the Province for a new playground, but wanted to add several big-ticket extras. That left them with a $204,000 shortfall for the project. 

At that meeting, the board deferred a decision until they could review the proposal and study options. That happened at an in camera meeting June 29. It was held in camera because it dealt with property issues.

The PAC is also expecting to receive about $20,000 from third-party groups, making the total budget for the project $419,000. 

Nakusp Elementary School enrolment is currently 185 students and growing, said Superintendent Peter Dubinsky. 

“The board looked at the growth of the school, and the current population is as high as it has ever been, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight in terms of the growth,” he told the Valley Voice. “They not only wanted to support the students at Nakusp Elementary, but also children in the community in general.

“The board commented this would be something that would catch people’s eye, and it would be something to support the entire community. It could even help recruit families to come and enjoy the area, especially during the summer.”

Even with the generous grant, the board is still sitting on about  $2.8 million in surplus money – another reason to support the project, Dubinsky noted.

“It’s a very healthy surplus, and the ministry requires us to have a plan to spend that surplus,” he said. “… While it does seem like a lot of money, this will last for decades and be a wonderful addition to the school, complementing the child care centre as well. The board felt strongly this was a good use of surplus dollars – and it’s not a massive bite out of the surplus.”

A second major request made at the June board meeting, for a commitment of land to build an educational greenhouse and community garden on school property, was also discussed at the in camera meeting. Dubinsky says the board directed staff to continue talks with the Old Firehall Collective – the group making the pitch for the project – to see if an agreement in principle can be reached.

By John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 13, 2023 at 09:58

This item reprinted with permission from   Valley Voice   New Denver, British Columbia
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