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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan Symphony maestro joins KSS Music Showcase

OSO music direcor Rosemary Thomsom will MC the upcoming display of Okanagan music talent

Inaugural Barrels & Berms SBX World Cup continues at Big White

The snowboard cross event brings in Canadian and national stars

Rockets get healthy, snap streak with 3-2 win over T-Birds

Kelowna looks for more wins Saturday with the first of back-to-back games with Giants

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

Flooding water at West Kelowna Tim Hortons closes lane on Highway 97

This story has been updated with more accurate information. Water flooding from… Continue reading

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

Help sought in developing family practices in South Okanagan and Similkameen

An estimated 15,000 people in region do not have a family doctor

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

Animal lovers cautioned against feeding urban deer – even if they beg at the window

Even if the deer press their little faces against your kitchen window… Continue reading

Highway 1 closed near Golden for high avalanche danger

DriveBC does not give an estimation for reopening

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Most Read