Big Little Science Centre on the hunt for a new home

With the fire at Parkrest elementary leading to a domino effect of student movement, including at the science centre's home in the former Happyvale elementary, executive director Gord Stewart said closure is possible if a new site cannot be found

The Big Little Science Centre is looking for a new home in the aftermath of last week’s Parkcrest elementary fire.

BLSC executive director Gord Stewart is meeting with the school district and city, having been given word the centre, located in the old Happyvale elementary school on Holt Street in Brocklehurst, will be displaced as a result of 4 Directions moving into the space.

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4 Directions, School District 73’s alternative education for Aboriginal students, is moving from George Hilliard elementary to Happyvale to accommodate Parkcrest elementary students, following a fire that gutted the school on Thursday.

Students in the Twin Rivers Education Centre, an alternate school also located in the George Hilliard building, will be moving to portables at NorKam senior secondary.

“We have to move,” Stewart said, adding a location has not yet been found.

Gordon Gore
Big Little Science Centre founder Gordon Gore. - Dave Eagles/KTW file

Stewart said there is talk of a few possible options, but noted everything remains up in the air. Stewart said it is a possibility the science centre could close if a new location is not secured.

“We need somewhere to operate,” he said. “This is kind of short notice. We’ll have to see what we can get done as quickly as possible.”

BLSC founder Gordon Gore said he would like to see the science centre at Thompson Rivers University. Gore envisions a separate building for the centre on campus, with access for teachers in training.

“It would be so valuable to them,” he told KTW.

Gore said the centre is most utilized by teachers and classes that participate in activities and utilize the centre’s equipment. Calling the centre a community asset, he noted it provides kids up-close, hands-on experiences with science. A trip to the centre might include making a simple battery, playing with bugs, learning robotics or making ones hair stand on end via the popular Van de Graaff static electricity generator.

“You get kids coming in on a Saturday and they don’t want to leave,” Gordon said, noting more than 100 scientific hands-on activities that can be tried. “It’s great value to the community as a whole.”

Since Gore founded the science centre in February 2000, it has been located in David Thompson elementary, Bert Edwards Science and Technology School, George Hilliard elementary and Happyvale elementary. The centre leases space from the school district. Because it is not a district program, however, access is determined by space availability.

“It’s trying times, but at least the little kids have a place to go to school, which is at the centre of all this,” Stewart said.

© Kamloops This Week


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