New school being planned for Masset

  • Oct. 29, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Islands school trustees voted Tuesday night (Oct. 23) to request $18.4 million from the Ministry of Education to build a new school in Masset. The new school would replace and combine G.M. Dawson Secondary and Tahayghen Elementary in one building. Trustees made the request in their five-year capital plan, a sort of wish list they submit every year to the Education Ministry that outlines construction projects they would like to see funded in their district. This year’s capital plan also includes one other request, $2.2 million to renovate A.L. Mathers school in Sandspit. This project has been submitted to the Ministry previously, but has not yet been approved. Although there has been little formal discussion and no decision made at the school board table about combining the two Masset schools, superintendent Angus Wilson told trustees it would be a good idea to include it on the capital plan to give the board options for the future. “By approving this, it does not mean we are agreeing” to consolidate the two schools, he said. If the Ministry of Education does approve the request, the board can decide to turn it down. In addition, there’s no guarantee the project will be approved. All three schools on the capital plan – G.M. Dawson, Tahayghen and A.L. Mathers – are older buildings that are far larger than they need to be. A.L. Mathers was designed for 150 students, Mr. Wilson said. This year, there are 28 students in the building. At Tahayghen there are 87 students this year, and enrollment at G.M. Dawson is 110. Both these buildings could hold many more, while student numbers have been dropping steadily for years.

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