No deal with VANOC to rent school space 

Proposal too rich for Olympic organizers

Talks have broken off between the Sea to Sky School District and Olympic officials over the rental of school space during the 2010 Games.

The school district had hoped to rent out space in several of their high schools to the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games.

But an agreement could not be reached said District secretary treasurer Nancy Edwards, despite the fact that a negotiator had been hired to broker the deal.

"(VANOC) basically couldn't meet the price that we wanted," said Edwards.

The school district's deal included money to cover the cost of operations of the buildings, funds to run programs for students whose parents are working throughout the Games, and some cash for a legacy fund.

Edwards would not reveal how much money the school district was asking for as it is still pursuing other deals for the space with sport organizations.

"We will still be exploring other options but certainly the talks with VANOC have broken off," said Edwards.

Asked if she was disappointed that the talks had failed she said: "I am. We had hoped that we would come to some arrangement if for no other reason that we had hoped to have some cash to put on activity programs for the elementary students when (the schools) are closed for a week."

VANOC spokesperson Maureen Douglas said it was a challenge to work within a fixed budget and meet the school district's requirements.

"VANOC has been in discussions with School District 48 for some time regarding use of Whistler Secondary School for workforce accommodation and support service," she said.

"Unfortunately we were not able to reach an agreement that works for both parties. VANOC is working within a fixed budget and must make sound financial decisions. The proposed terms for the use of Whistler Secondary School could not be aligned with VANOC's budget."

With the rental arrangements in flux schools are not looking at tweaking their own calendars.

The May 13th school board meeting will see requests from three Squamish elementary schools to open one week earlier in the fall of 2009 and close for the two weeks of the Olympics. Currently school starts Sept. 8 with one week off during the Games. The schools seeking change are Stawamus, Valleycliffe and Garibaldi. They are community schools and are not part of the bus route.

"School are free to put in an alternate calendar if they want," said Edwards.

In 2007 VANOC requested that all four high schools in the district be closed to house volunteers and other workforce during the event.

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