The proposed new school and learning centre in Albion would feature art and music studios

The proposed new school and learning centre in Albion would feature art and music studios

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board selling property

Sale of property in Silver Valley could help build new school in Albion.

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district is hoping to sell an old school site to help fund a new one.

The board authorized staff to initiate the sale of the Alouette River Campus. Proceeds could help secure provincial funding for a new school in Albion.

The Alouette River Campus was the site of the former Alouette elementary, which closed in 1983. The site is located at 23121 – 132 Ave., near the corner of 232 Street and 132 Avenue.

Board chair Mike Murray said the campus is not suitable for a new elementary school to service the Silver Valley area, because it is too small, with most of its 1.8 hectares in the flood plain. It is prone to partial flooding.

Staff have also stated the site is not well situated to serve future growth in the city.

In many cases when a school site is sold, the proceeds go the provincial government. However, Murray said the determining factor is which level of government purchased the land in the first place. In most cases, it would be the province, but he said the Alouette River Campus property was bought by the local board, and any funds from the sale would, therefore, be under board control.

“It was purchased by private sale a long time ago [1960], for not very much money,” said Murray.

Now, however, the site is appraised at $1.5 million, including a building that is suitable for use only as storage.

Murray said the board will investigate selling the property, and using the proceeds toward the proposed elementary school and community centre that the school district and City of Maple Ridge are developing as a joint project in Albion.

The district already owns land on 104th Avenue for the new facility.

The district is waiting a funding announcement from the education ministry, and the estimated cost of the project is $19 million for a community hall with kitchen, outdoor amphitheatre, elementary school with shared gymnasium and other amenities.

There is already interest in the Alouette River Campus, and a staff report noted the district has been approached by a number of parties interested in buying or leasing the site.

Murray could not say how much the board is expecting to get for the land.

Staff say the funds from that sale “could be used to enhance the district’s request for a new school.”

The education minister must approve the sale, and there are several key steps before it can be sold, including public consultation and a school board bylaw.