The idea of moving all senior secondary students from Grade 9 to 12 to an expanded Sullivan Campus is becoming increasingly unlikely.
At a community engagement meeting held Saturday at Shuswap Middle School, it was revealed that the costs of adding on to the current facility are not financially viable.
North Okanagan-Shuswap School District Superintendent Glenn Borthistle said preliminary and very conservative financial estimates put the cost of equipping the school for the additional two grade levels would be more than $9.5 million.
The concept was being investigated following a request of the previous school board. It has long been a point of contention that students are shifted between the Jackson Campus, which fronts the Trans-Canada Highway near the hospital, and the newer Sullivan Campus on 30th Street NE.
Currently Grade 9 and 10 students have most classes at Jackson, while 11 and 12s are at Sullivan. In some cases, however, students must travel between the two campuses for specific classes, like shop classes, during the course of their school day.
Parents, teachers and administrators also point to the difficulties with student transitions and a lack of a cohesive secondary school environment as drawbacks to the current two-campus model.
Financial realities, however, are proving to outweigh the desire for amalgamating all the students at one location. Borthistle pointed out the shift would require a significant expansion to the building, including the addition of a second gymnasium, as Sullivan’s is currently used to capacity.
Official trustee Mike McKay said the next step will be to develop ideas for resolving some of the challenges faced by the two-campus model to enhance student learning. A report will be brought forward at a later date.