Bids exceed budget for Burnside Elementary renos

Superintendent Piet Langestraat

The Greater Victoria School District will have to re-work its plan to renovate the former Burnside Elementary School for use as an alternative high school.

The school closed in 2006 during a period of declining enrollment and has been used by community groups since then.

Until recently that is, when the community groups were asked to relocate to accommodate renovations. 

Enrollment is projected to increase by about 13% over the next decade.

However, Superintendent Piet Langstraat tells CFAX 1070's Mark Brennae the almost five million dollars budgeted for the project quickly became insufficient once bids were received.

"When it began, it was at $2.7 million as an estimate cost -- and we certainly saw that as a feasible plan to create some really needed space. And as we got into the requirements for seismic, the costs rose from 2.7 to 4.8 [million dollars]. When we actually put it out for bid, the bids were coming in in the neighbourhood of $6.2 million."

Once renovated, the new Burnside Education Centre would have housed the alternative educational programs currently located at S.J. Willis Junior High School.

S.J. Willis, in turn, would have been re-purposed as a rotating secondary school during future seismic upgrades.

Langstraat regrets the plan to give alternative students a top-notch facility may not happen.

"Our students who attend our alternative programs really do deserve a world class education site to meet their educational needs. And it was a real disappointment for me as superintendent that that vision would not - did not - come to reality."

The 112-year-old school would have been turned into an alternative high-school for continuing-education programs called the Burnside Education Centre.

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