Parkcrest elementary was destroyed by fire on Sept. 5, 2019. A cause has yet to be determined. Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO/KTW

Minister of Education wants to fast-track rebuild of destroyed Kamloops school

School District 73 has had difficulty securing capital funding from the province over the years

  • Sep. 10, 2019 10:34 p.m.

Minister of Education Rob Fleming said Parkcrest elementary will be rebuilt — hopefully on an express timeline.

“As the province of British Columbia, we’re here to support the school community and get that school rebuilt as soon as we can,” Fleming told KTW.

While School District 73 has had difficulty securing capital funding from the provincial government over the years, the Parkcrest rebuild will not have to to compete against other projects for priority as it will be funded from a different source.

The province has a self-insured emergency fund for situations such as the Parkcrest fire and that money will be used to fund the rebuild, Fleming said.

“This is a program that is designed for replacing schools that are lost through uncontrollable events,” he said.

The ministry plans to move quickly to design and build a replacement Parkcrest elementary and hopes the process can be expedited, Fleming said.

READ MORE: Fire destroys Kamloops elementary school

Looking forward to discussing how fast the project can move forward with the school district and City of Kamloops, Fleming said he hopes any unnecessary delays around permitting can be avoided.

An elementary school typically takes three to five years to build, but given the circumstances, Fleming is hoping for a shorter timeline.

“We know we’re going to rebuild,” SD73 superintendent Alison Sidow said. “We’re going to rebuild Parkcrest elementary school and that school will be bigger and better than ever.”

She said she has heard of a commitment from the minister to fast track the project and make a new school a priority, but has yet to hear an announcement from the Ministry of Eduction.

SD73 will be submitting a project development report to the ministry for the rebuild.

In the short term, the ministry will assist with funding school resources, Fleming said, adding that the ministry plans to meet with the school district when it is ready to discuss what resources it will need from province to build as normal an alternate school environment for this year as possible.

Fleming said he was relieved to hear no lives were lost in the fire.

He described the loss of a school as not easy for the students, staff and families.

“They watched that school burn to the ground and that’s a very sad occasion. That’s decades of memories of a school that’s now lost,” he said.

Timia Bond, a former chair of Parkcrest’s parent advisory council, watched the building smoulder last Friday morning.

“I feel for the teachers that have invested so much in to our kids and our community,” Bond said. “I know how much emotion they put in to their schools, but I also know how much financially they put in … and that’s a huge hit.”

READ MORE: Kamloops elementary school fire not criminal

SD73 secretary-treasurer Kelvin Stretch said he has yet to determine a dollar amount for school property lost in the fire or how much will be covered by insurance, but noted hat file is being worked on and he is confident the district will get the support it needs.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Home fire displaces Okanagan tenants for “at least one night”

Firefighters able to contain fire to a single room

PHOTOS: Hello Santa! Art Walk says hello to big crowds

17 galleries and studios opened their doors last night to the public

South Okanagan crews ready for winter road maintenance

Not all roads in the region will be cleared at the same rate

LETTER: Phone scam has become annoying

Summerland woman has had repeated calls about refund

Summerland Festival of Lights will have schedule changes

Fireworks will begin earlier in the evening on Friday, Nov. 29

PHOTOS: NHL honours B.C. grandma’s battle against cancer in special match

Shea Theodore’s grandmother Kay Darlington dropped the puck at a special ‘Hockey Fights Cancer’ game

Two-vehicle crash at North Okanagan intersection

Truck and SUV involved at Alexis Park Drive and 43rd Avenue

Mosaic Forest Management announces forestry shutdown

Thousands of forestry workers in Coastal B.C. will be affected by ‘curtailment’

Nothing wrong with being mistaken for a sex trade worker

Twice in my life, I’ve been mistaken for a sex trade worker.… Continue reading

Support sought for senior dog at SPCA in North Okanagan

Teki came in underweight, had surgery to remove two painful lumps and dental work

Appeal dismissed for B.C. man who assaulted woman in ‘thoroughly modern’ fight over phone

‘Both were seeking evidence of cheating by the other,’ says B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

Princeton pot plant owners concerned about fake website

We don’t want people thinking that’s our company.

Vandals target Cowork Penticton mural

‘Calliope’ is meant to be a simble for weaving separate parts together to form a community

Motorcycle ride in memory of Penticton man

Motorcycle enthusiast was murdered in Kamloops earlier this year

Most Read