Northern Lights School Division (NLSD) will transfer over Central Elementary School’s building, in Lac La Biche, to Lakeland Catholic School Division (LCSD). The building is no longer in use by NLSD and LCSD believes they will be able to make upgrades to the facility and open a school in Lac La Biche. Communications officer Nicole Garner says originally the Board had a different school in mind.
At the February 23rd Board Meeting the Board passed a motion, “to declare Dr. Swift Middle School surplus to our need and pending a written response from the Minister (of Education) to adhere to the disposition of property regulation 11.1,” Garner explains the idea was NLSD would declare it surplus and the Province would transfer it over to LCSD.
The Board received a letter back from the Minister, however it did not include what was needed to transfer the property over. This was a clerical error, not a denial of the transfer from the Minister, so the Board decided instead to transfer over Central Elementary School, which did not require a letter from the Minister.
“We really wanted to not delay the process any further,” Garner explains, “it’s important for Lakeland Catholic to know it’s going to have a facility and where that facility is going to be. Rather than go back and seek clarity from the Minister, which would drag it out, what the Board decided to do was rescind its original motion and not have Dr. Swift declared surplus and instead, declare the Central Elementary School surplus.” NLSD will work with LCSD to transfer over the building.
NLSD reconfigured its Lac La Biche schools a few years ago and in doing so, Dr. Swift has been empty for some time. “We reconfigured our schools when we opened the new high school. So the high school kids moved to a new school and the kids that were in Central and Dr. Swift, moved into what was the old high school and is now Aurora Middle School. Leaving Central and Swift empty.” The Francophone school board and a day care were leasing space in the Central Elementary School, the leases are up and NLSD did not state whether these organization will be moved to Dr. Swift.