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Burnaby school district selling old school site for $24M

Puddle Splashers daycare to move after old Duthie-Union Elementary School property sold to Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique
Duthie-Union02
The Burnaby school district is selling its Duthie-Union property at 7231 Frances St. for $24 million.

The Burnaby school district is in the process of finalizing a $24-million deal to sell one of its “surplus” school properties to B.C.’s French language school board.

In its long-range facility plan, the school board identified the 5.75-acre Duthie-Union Elementary School property at 7231 Frances St. as “surplus to the district’s educational needs,” according to a report that will be presented to the school board Tuesday.

Staff was directed to engage in negotiations with Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique to sell the property, the report says. 

Under the purchase and sale agreement, the closing date will be Dec. 31 and CSF will take possession on July 31, 2022 – or earlier if the building is vacated.

The property currently houses a daycare run by the Puddle Splashers Childcare Society.

When the school is sold, the society will move operations to the child-care facility being built into the new Burnaby North Secondary School, according to the report.

“During the 2021/22 school year the school district will continue to operate the (Duthie-Union) site and will provide the facility to Puddle Splashers Childcare Society under the existing terms and conditions of the licence to occupy,” states the report.

The report says the $24-million price tag was deemed by the board's committee of the whole to be "fair market value for the land when used for educational purposes." 

Because the property is being sold to another board for educational purposes, the deal doesn’t need the provincial education minister’s stamp of approval, according to the report.

For community consultation, staff recommends the board pass first and second reading of the bylaw Tuesday night as “formal public notice” of the deal.

The district should then put up a notice about the deal on its website and host a Zoom meeting (Nov. 9 and 6:30 p.m.) for residents to learn more, according to staff. 

Third and final reading of the bylaw should then be considered at the board’s next public meeting on Nov. 23, the report says.

Proceeds from the sale will go into the district’s local capital reserve “as local funds were used when the site was originally acquired,” according to the report.

While the Duthie-Union site may be “surplus,” that doesn’t mean the district doesn’t need land.

It’s latest five-year capital plan outlines a need for four new schools in Brentwood, Lougheed, Bainbridge and Edmonds to deal with projected enrolment growth because of planned development in those areas.

Duthie-Union Elementary was opened in 1970, just before enrolment began to decline in the late 1970s, according to a history of the Burnaby school district.

The school was shuttered in 1980 and its students absorbed into Westridge Elementary, the book says.

The Richmond-headquartered Conseil Scolaire Francophone is the school board for all French schools in the province.

Unlike other school boards in B.C., it doesn’t cover a specific geographic area but instead takes ownership of schools based solely on language.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com