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With fourth reading in the bag for Intrawest’s Whistler South Comprehensive Development Strategy there is still a possibility a new elementary school could open its doors in September 2001.

As a condition to receiving fourth reading, Intrawest has obtained a letter of assurance from the B.C. Assets and Lands Corporation stating BCAL will allow for construction and servicing of the school site and building even if Intrawest hasn’t obtained title to the Spring Creek lands.

The province has also advised the school district they are in a position to release the next stage of funding for design of the school.

The next step for Intrawest is to subdivide the Spring Creek lands and carve off the school site as quickly as possible. Title can then be transferred to the school district. The plan is for Intrawest to commence site servicing in April or May and continue through the summer so construction could potentially start in August or September this year. That would allow an ambitious 12-month period to build the school and hit the September 2001 window.

Delays, however, could potentially come from Victoria. The Ministry of Finance must agree that each step of construction is being handled in the most cost-effective manner. As well, the mountainous nature of the site is expected to present some challenges.

The new school will house 350 elementary students from Grades 1 to 7 plus 100 kindergarten students.

Some parents would like to see the new facility function as a middle school but as Myrtle Philip principal Bob Daly said, that is not demographically feasible. He said it would not take the pressure off Myrtle Philip.

Daly told the Parent Advisory Council last week, the way things stand now, both Myrtle Philip and the new elementary school will offer classes from kindergarten to Grade 7 and the Grade 7s will be brought back from Whistler Secondary.

The PAC will be inviting Whistler school trustee and chair of the new elementary school committee, Andrée Janyk, to make a presentation on the new school’s progress at the next meeting, slated for Monday, Feb. 7.

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