As part of the response to the growing number of students in Fernie, the government approved a $8.4M expansion project for École Isabella Dicken Elementary School in 2020. During nine busy weeks in summer 2021, the school’s ten portables were relocated to 2nd Avenue to make way for the expansion.
The construction of the expansion started in June 2022 and is expected to be completed in February 2023. Within the next two weeks the walls will be erected and by the end of August the trusses will be in place.
The expansion will be approximately 11,200 sq.ft. It will be connected on the north end of the existing building via a hallway and the library. In addition to the expanded library which will enable the accommodation of entire classes, the expansion will include four classrooms, a multipurpose room, a resource room, space for smaller group learning, an office, and two mechanical rooms.
The City of Fernie requested that the School District create a new bus pick-up and drop-off on school property as part of the project to increase the safety of students, parents, and vehicles on 13th Street. Different scenarios were explored and the only suitable option, approved by the City of Fernie on August 4th, is to create the new bus pick-up and drop-off in front of the school’s main entrance.
The new bus route will see buses coming down to 13th street on 1st Ave, turning left onto 16th Street and coming back on 2nd Ave to access the new bus lane on the school property. To facilitate bus circulation the one-way road on 2nd Ave will be expanded between 14th and 16th Streets. Some parking restrictions will apply and some limited work will be undertaken at the intersections of 13th and 1st, 16th and 2nd and 2nd and 13th.
The extension will give students and staff some extra breathing room at EIDES while SD5, the Ministry of Education and Child Care discuss the funding of a new middle school in Fernie to further alleviate crowdedness.