British Columbia

Parents disappointed after minister says Prince Rupert Middle School won't be replaced

B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier says there are no current plans to replace Prince Rupert Middle school despite it being categorized as H1, meaning it's vulnerable to collapse in the event of an earthquake.

'It's rated H1. It's going to fall down,' says local parent Carrie Thorpe

The school is listed by officials as 'H1,' or vulnerable enough to collapse in the event of an earthquake. (George Baker/CBC)

Parents in Prince Rupert, B.C. say they were disappointed to learn that their city won't be getting a new middle school to replace the current aging building. 

The school has ben classified as H1, meaning it's vulnerable to collapse in the event of an earthquake. But, B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier said there were no plans to build a new school.

"Nobody had come forward, or met with, or talked with me on this issue," Bernier told Daybreak North associate producer George Baker

"Up until about three weeks ago when the local MLA brought it forward, it was the first I had heard of it."

To hear more from Education Minister Mike Bernier, click the listen button below.  

In February, parents of students at the school delivered a letter to the Education Ministry

Parent Carrie Thorpe is disappointed that a new school won't be built.

"I'm absolutely disgusted," she said. "The parents and the [parent advisory council] have all voiced their concern. We had 300 signatures in less than like four days to get this going."

The school was built in the 1960s near the city's old landfill.

'Government [has] to make sure schools are safe'

The province says it plans to upgrade the school rather than replace it.

"It is on our list as a government to, as part of seismic mitigation plan, have schools seismically mitigated by 2025. So it is on that list," said Bernier. 

"The staff in my ministry have been working behind the scenes ... to find out where that fits on the plan." 

There are 128 schools listed as vulnerable to a seismic event in the province. 

Prince Rupert's school board has pursued replacement of the building since 2001.