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

Dancing with the Shuswap Stars raises $50,000 for hospice

Search underway for dancers to compete is next year’s event

Road closures planned for Holiday Train’s Shuswap visit

Roads in Canoe and Salmon Arm will be closed to cars during local celebrations

In photos: Mirella Project helps Salmon Arm residents go green at Christmas

Two more events planned to help combat climate change in December

Snapshot: Sicamous Fire Department collects for annual toy drive

On Sunday, Dec. 8 the fire department collected food and toys to benefit those in need.

Sicamous Eagles lose to league-leading Kimberley Dynamiters

The Eagles will be right back at it with a Sunday afternoon game against Chase.

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Two Okanagan residents convicted and fined for hunting out of season

Both residents were convicted in a Kelowna provincial court

Book examines history of B.C. wine industry

Author Luke Whittall has studied the growth of the industry from the mid-19th century to today

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Most Read