The BC Ministry of Education’s Neighbourhood Learning Centre (NLC) Program was established in 2008 as a way to create space for community based programs and services within the province’s schools. The program provides for up to 15% of additional space when new construction or extensive renovation is undertaken. Space is provided based on needs identified and supported through consultation with the community.
The School District sees this program as an opportunity to expand available space for existing and new community services and programs and to make our new schools vibrant and vital hubs for the whole community.
Examples of possible NLC program areas include:
- healthcare, education, literacy,
- family support, counselling, day care,
- arts and theatre, athletics, youth drop-in.
The District has been meeting with community groups and organizations to identify community needs and propose programs and services that would be appropriate for considering the NLC program. Feedback from these meetings will be considered in developing the program, and shared with the broader community at information open houses.
Neighbourhood Learning Centres have an established set of Guiding Principles. In considering a program or activity the School District must take into account whether the activity or program is suitable for co-locating in a school. Safety and security of students is paramount. Other considerations include:
- If the program or service enhances educational programs and services?
- Can it operate independently outside of school hours?
- Is it able to fund incremental operating costs?
- Does it provide additional community benefits?
- Will it improve the attractiveness and livability of the West Shore?
- Does the program have a record of success?
- Can the program or service function in multi-use space?
The School District included recommended programs and services for Neighbourhood Learning Centres in its Final Report presented to the Minister last summer.