Emptied — but not empty
The last two of five schools closed in Kamloops in recent years should soon be busy places.
Kamloops-Thompson school district administrators and staff at the City of Kamloops have signed leases that will see the city rent the former Westsyde and John Tod elementary schools.
The city is working with the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA-YWCA to turn John Tod in North Kamloops into a community centre.
Its plans for Westsyde aren’t known yet, said school district secretary-treasurer Kelvin Stretch, but he knows all the space will be involved.
Other schools closed when the school district went through its reconfiguration program to address declining enrolment have been in use for some time.
Oak Hills in Westsyde has been home to Conseil Scholar Francophone, with students receiving their education in French.
The district’s online KOOL program moved to the former Pineridge campus of Beattie School of the Arts in 2009, sharing the Sahali space with the international-student program.
George Hilliard elementary on the North Shore has a day-care provider, a music school and the Big Little Science Centre, which moved into the building in 2011.
Ralph Bell elementary in Valleyview houses several day-care providers who were moved there when the district adopted full-day kindergarten and needed to relocate day cares in other schools in the city.
They consolidated them at the Valleyview facility.
Part of the Chase annex, also closed during reconfiguration, is being used by that community’s museum staff to provide space for restoration of artifacts damaged when the museum was hit by fire in 2011, Stretch said, and discussions are ongoing with the town council about use for the rest of the building.
The rental agreements with the city are for $1 a year, but the municipal government then takes on all the operating costs for the structures.
That amount can add up to between $35,000 and $50,00 a year, Stretch said, which is a saving to the school district.
Having occupants also reduces vandalism and deterioration that naturally happens when buildings sit empty.