ROSSLAND – Fate of MacLean School up for discussion

Rossland will have a chance to add its voice to the discussion tonight at 7pm at MacLean.

While Rossland primary students enjoy their last couple weeks in MacLean Elementary School, school district staff plan for the future of the dismissed facility.

The Golden City will have a chance to add its voice to the discussion on the disposal of the school, a solidified plan to generate funds for School District 20, during an open house tonight at 7 p.m. at MacLean.

Possible decisions include putting the school up for sale in the open market, leasing it out for a short time while the district gets a handle on projected enrolment or selling it to an interested buyer from a different school district.

“It’s not a secret that (the Francophone School District) expressed an interest so that will certainly be one of the options that we’ll put out to the public on Tuesday,” explained Greg Luterbach, SD20 superintendent of schools.

Mark Wilson, SD20 board member, said the board has received a letter that confirms École des Septs Sommets would like to relocate from the Annex to MacLean.

“First off it’s just a letter so we don’t know if they have money or if they have the student population,” he added. “It’s an asset so we can’t just give it away because the budget is so tight.”

No rash decision will be made until K-9 is running smoothly at Rossland Secondary School (RSS), at which time Rossland’s grades 10-12 will bus down to J. L. Crowe Secondary.

“We have to make sure we can accommodate the kids in Rossland Secondary,” said Wilson. “Just in case there is a glitch, we have to keep MacLean on our books. Once we’ve got the kids transferred to Rossland Secondary, then we’ll start entertaining the sale.”

In-house maintenance crews are currently prepping RSS for its renovation from a high school to a facility that will soon accommodate primary students.

A group of teachers, parents and district staff designed a floor plan that will come to life when a renovation contract in awarded.

The project, at a cost that can’t be disclosed while the job is out to tender, includes taking previous speciality spaces like a metal shop and transforming it into general class space.

The scope of the work also includes adding primary elements like sinks and cubbies in corridors for the younger students.

RSS currently has nearly 300 students but is projected to house 450 when it’s changed to a K-9 facility this fall while Crowe’s enrolment level of approximately 730 students will bump up to over 800 when Rossland’s older students join the pack.

How quickly MacLean is sold depends on feedback from the community, said Luterbach. The public meeting will open the floor to possible sale routes, some which take less time to pull off.

Selling the facility to another school district doesn’t involve ministerial approval, said Luterbach, adding that the board may make a decision as early as its next meeting at 7 p.m. on June 17 at the Trail Middle School.