Operations at Parkview Elementary stopped in September due to a musty odour that was noticed following a recent rainstorm. (Photo submitted)

Majority of North Okanagan-Shuswap school buildings in poor condition

School District #83 superintendent says facilities report can be used to apply for needed funding

Poor ratings received for more than 70 per cent of school buildings in the North Okanagan-Shuswap come with a silver lining – leverage for much-needed provincial funding.

At the School District #83 board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 15, a long term facilities plan was presented to trustees. The plan is meant to be used as a framework to guide the district in managing its facilities and to support capital submissions to the B.C. Ministry of Education. Initial research for the plan was conducted by Cascade Facilities Management Consultants Ltd. in Langley.

Included in the presentation was a report provided by VFA Inc., a Boston-based capital planning and asset management company, contracted by the ministry. VFA’s report found that 22 of the 31 district buildings did not meet requirements and were rated as poor.

Read more: Student exemption from Foundation Skills Assessment up to parents

Read more: Donation of life-saving devices honours memory of Salmon Arm student

Schools and district buildings were rated on a scale of zero to one, zero being the best possible rating. Sicamous’ Parkview Elementary rated the highest with 0.60 – the threshold between poor and very poor. Silver Creek Elementary and South Canoe Elementary were next with ratings of 0.55. Salmon Arm Secondary campuses, Sullivan and Jackson, both fell within an average rating, while the more recently built school district office building came away with a zero rating.

VFA’s findings were based on engineering-related issues related to such things as boilers, roofs and building foundations.

The fact that Parkview Elementary was determined to be in the worst shape of all district buildings may come as no surprise to some. Following severe rains over the summer, a musty smell was detected by the school’s students and staff which lead to the building being shut down approximately two months for health purposes. Students will be back to learning at Parkview following the November long-weekend, but school superintendent Peter Jory said Parkview is not the only school experiencing weather-related damages.

Read more: Shuswap elementary enrolment numbers two times higher than projections

Read more: Shuswap resident earns red seal welding certification at 19

According to Jory, water leaked into M.V. Beattie Elementary’s gym which is awaiting a floor replacement. Hillcrest and Bastion elementary school’s have also suffered water damage, but Parkview is the only school to report a musty smell as a result.

Along with the building’s age, the cause for the water damage comes down to bad weather.

“We’ve had an extraordinarily rainy start-up for this area of the Okanagan, and I have to say that our buildings aren’t really designed for coastal weather,” Jory said.

Although the buildings’ ratings are less than optimal, Jory said there is a silver lining.

“As much as that is a bit of a problem for us to have older buildings, strategically speaking it is helpful for us because it would help us make a better case for provincial funding,” Jory said.

“Ideally, we’ll be approving a plan that solves multiple problems at once,” Jory said. “We’ve got capacity issues coming our way because enrolment is increasing, so we’ve got to make sure we have space across the district to house and educate our learners.”

Read more: Shuswap elementary school suspends operations due to ‘musty odour’

Read more: Interior Health approves reopening of Sicamous elementary school

Also included in the plan is a 2020/2021 request summary totalling more than $38 million. Projects in the summary include new playground equipment, boiler replacements, new HVAC heating systems and improvements to dust collector systems. The summary also includes the not-yet built Salmon Arm Elementary which takes the bulk of the price tag at $31 million. Jory said the summary and the cost associated is subject to much change.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

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

RCMP seek to identify person of interest in Salmon Arm arson investigation

Police believe a June 4 residential garage fire was deliberately set

Salmon Arm demonstrators show unity with Black Lives Matter movement

Participants speak out against systemic racism and targeting of vulnerable populations

Revelstoke, North Okanagan RCMP team up to nab Alberta man, stolen BMW

Helicopter, dogs used in North Okanagan highway arrest

Salmon Arm West bridge construction expected to begin in fall 2020

Budget for Highway 1 project up $20 million over intial 2016 estimate

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Penticton Search and Rescue respond to six calls in less than a week

Two hikers rescued in early morning search near Greyback Lake latest in series of searches

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

In photos: Modified, yet traditional graduation gives Penticton graduates a sense of normalcy

Students around Penticton take part in pre-recorded graduation ceremonies

Filming to resume safely later in June: Okanagan Film Commission

Film commissioner Jon Summerland said they want to start filming again later in June

Kelowna RCMP investigate woman’s sudden death

Criminality is not suspected at this time, according to RCMP

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read