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

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

(James Holmes/Contributed)
Kelowna chef to compete on the Food Network’s Fire Masters

Chef James Holmes will compete for $10K on an upcoming episode of Fire Masters

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Approximately 2,500 teachers, school staff vaccinated in Central Okanagan

Central Okanagan Teachers’ Association said teachers are thrilled

City of West Kelowna. (Phil McLachlan/West K News)
City of West Kelowna puts more than $35M into infrastructure projects

Sizable investments into road and active transportation network projects

A hummingbird gives its wings a rare rest while feeding in a North Okanagan garden. (Karen Siemens/North Okanagan Naturalists Club)
Hummingbirds back for another Okanagan season

North America’s littlest birds return, and they’re hungry

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

(Kingfisher Boats photo)
In the market for a boat in the North Okanagan? Be prepared to wait

Vernon’s Kingfisher Boats is out of 2021 models, with many 2022 models already pre-sold

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read