The B.C. government announced today that they will be investing $40 million to help districts around the province “revamp and refresh” their schools.
The School Enhancement Program will fund projects such as heating and ventilation upgrades, roof repairs, windows, lighting and electrical system upgrades, alongside mechanical upgrades. Some safety enhancements will be made such as fire protection.
Seismic upgrades are not included among eligible projects. School enhancements will be chosen based on need and priority, and must cost more than $100,000.
“This fix-it-fund for schools will give school districts across the province the help they need to extend the life of schools – actions like fixing roofs, installing new heating equipment, and replacing windows,” says Minister of Education Mike Bernier in a statement.
The B.C. government allocated $1.7 billion in the 2016 budget to replace aging facilities and seismically upgrade schools over the course of three years. The Vancouver School Board was recently told by the province to increase classroom capacity to 95% in order to receive funding for seismic upgrades, and a plan was approved by the board to close up to 13 elementary and high schools as a result.
B.C. school districts will have until Friday, April 15 to submit their upgrade proposals to the ministry and will be notified by the end of May if approved.