School District 5 is looking for the public’s feedback on what they would like to see happen to Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook, which will have opened its doors 70 years ago this April.

“The purpose of this project is to advocate to the Ministry of Education regarding options to bring the oldest school in the Kootenays into the 21st century,” said School District 5 (SD5).

The Board of Directors recently approved engagement with Berry Architects & Associates to begin providing plans for a replacement or renovation proposal to the Province for Mount Baker Secondary School (MBSS).

Originally opening on April 6th, 1951, MBSS has been Cranbrook’s lone high school with as many as three or four generations of students now graduating through the school. Discussion on a rebuild or replacement has been ongoing in the community for years, but now action is being taken by SD5 to make tangible progress.

SD5 is proposing three options for public feedback, either a full replacement of MBSS, a partial replacement, or a significant renovation.

“Through this process we hope to identify the full gamut of implications associated with each option,” said SD5. “This survey is our first step in obtaining input about the options from past and present students, past and present staff, and community members.”

The following are the specifics tied to each option for the ageing school.

  • Full Replacement:
    • New footprint of school
    • Disruption to green space (fields) but limited disruption to existing school operations
    • Size and number of classrooms/spaces determined by formulas from the Ministry
    • Could mean smaller or loss of some specialty areas of a school
    • Specialty rooms include the Elders in Residence room, shops, drama, band rooms, science prep rooms, etc
    • High cost and minimal number of school replacements issued each year in the Province
  • Partial Replacement:
    • Majority of existing footprint maintained
    • Disruption to school and potentially require alternative space during construction
    • Additional classrooms/spaces determined by formulas from the Ministry
    • Could mean smaller or loss of some specialty areas of a school
    • Specialty rooms include the Elders in Residence room, shops, drama, band rooms, science prep rooms, etc
    • Moderate cost
    • May require advocating for this option to the Ministry/Community as this does not fit with the current
      capital replacement guidelines
  • Major Renovation:
    • Existing footprint maintained
    • Will require alternative space for classes during construction
    • Maintain current specialty rooms space sizes
    • Specialty rooms include the Elders in Residence room, shops, drama, band rooms, science prep rooms, etc
    • Moderate cost in phases
    • May require advocating for this option to the Ministry/Community as not a current option with Capital (unless over 10-15 years)

SD5 asks that if the public has any further details or considerations to email cbo.mailing@sd5.bc.ca with those documents, while also being sure to include a name and phone number for contact purposes.

A link to the full survey from SD5 is available below.

MORE: Mount Baker Secondary School Survey (School District 5)