Clock runs out on Maxwell

Maxwell school Grade 11 student Emily Cook stands outside the school in between classes. Cook will not be able to graduate from the school next spring. The school will close in June after officials rejected a proposal to keep it open.

Sadness and disappointment remain among students and staff at Maxwell International School after Thursday’s official word the facility will close June 29.

The bad news was broken at an emotional assembly where it was explained Maxwell’s governing body rejected a December proposal from parents and Friends of Maxwell to keep the Shawnigan Lake school open as a private Baha’i-inspired institution.

The ruling follows autumn news Maxwell would close, prompting the proposal.

“There was lots of shedding of tears,” said Carol Cooper whose daughter, Emilie, attends Maxwell.

“We all concurred we’d make this the best year for our students and celebrate what we have there.”

But Maxwell lacks enough students and funds to keep the 20-year-old school open, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada confirmed in its Jan. 24 letter.

Its agents were unavailable for comment by press time Friday.

In its letter, the assembly applauds the local proposal that includes recruitment and fundraising plans.

Still, the assembly found the proposal “not sufficiently viable” to allow the school to succeed in a competitive global education market.

The assembly explained it would also require substantial investment “in the form of lost revenues” from not selling the school’s land and buildings, plus “implied moral responsibility for the project’s success.”

Assessed value of Maxwell’s site at 2371 Shawnigan Lake Road is $675,300, according to the B.C. Assessment Authority’s website.

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Disappearing Baha'i Academic Institutions

The recent news of the possible closing of Maxwell International (Baha’i) School reminded me of the sudden, unexpected closure of Landegg International University (originally Landegg Academy) in Wienacht, Switzerland, three years ago. I was looking at their Web site to see if there were any programs planned over the winter break period. It was then that I was shocked to see the announcement of their closure on the Web site.

There was little notice given - just a few weeks. I knew they had students who were studying for Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, and I imagined the negative impact that the school’s closure would have on them. At that time I kept thinking, “How could this happen?” I had no idea they were in financial trouble. I knew they had diversified their program in recent years to include courses of study that were not directly related to the Baha’i Faith; however, it never occurred to me that this might be a last ditch effort for the institution to make itself more viable.

A few weeks ago, I heard the news that Maxwell is closing. Maxwell International School (they dropped the Baha’i portion of the name some time ago) is located at Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, Canada. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada has been providing financial support to the school from its inception 19 years ago. The original plan was to support the school with Baha’i funds for a few years until Maxwell became self-sufficient. Unfortunately, that day never came, and the National Spiritual of Canada has determined that it cannot continue bolster the school financially.

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Trendy tiles

Jeweled, speckled or shimmering with gold flecks -- the newest tiles are going way beyond the backsplash.

Improvements in the past 20 years in firing, glazing and cutting technology have made tiles easier and sometimes less costly to manufacture, while creating a new luxury category of high gloss finishes, textures and designs.

That makes Lindy Belmont, proprietor of Tile Werks in Highwood, happy.

"My business was born out of the fact there wasn't anything unique on the North Shore in the way of tile," she said. "Each line looked the same as the rest, all generic or Big Box lines."

{josquote}And no building is more deserving of beautiful accouterments than the glistening white Bahai House of Worship in Wilmette.{/josquote}

Now, tiles are trendy and varied, and she can enjoy the hunt. She's even been asked to work on the redesign of the nine fountains at the Bahai Temple in Wilmette.

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Maxwell International Bahai School Slated for Closure

SHAWNIGAN LAKE - The Maxwell International Bahai School in Shawnigan Lake plans to close its doors because of declining enrollment. The school, which has been running for 20 years, has seen its number drop from a high of about 230 students to about 125.

That means the National Spiritual Assembly of Bahais in Canada is losing money and they plan to pull the plug.

But some of the students and parents say they won’t let that happen. The parents are planning to form an independent board to take over the school’s operation. They are applying to the Bahai assembly for their approval.

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