French school district purchases former Oak Hills school with plans to expand

B.C.’s francophone public school district has acquired Kamloops’ French elementary school in Westsyde, paving the way for a future expansion to K-12 classes.

The provincial government provided over $2 million to School District 93 — the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF) — to purchase the property from the Kamloops-Thompson school district.

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According to a provincial press release, the site is large enough to allow for a future expansion on the eight-acre site.

The release did not specify if the $2 million covered 100 per cent of the sale price.

Proceeds from the sale will go into SD73's capital funds for future projects listed in its capital plan prioritie for 2021-2022, a press release fro the school district stated.

École Collines-d'Or now has a permanent home, having previously operated in the former Oak Hills elementary building on the property via short-term lease with School District 73.

The facility has an operating capacity of 88, and last year's enrolment for grades K-8 was 87 students.

The school district only recently added Grade 8 in 2019-2020.

"We are very pleased with this announcement, which will further the CSF's mission by providing stability for francophone students in Kamloops," said Marie-Pierre Lavoie, president, CSF Board of Trustees.

"The CSF is delighted the collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Kamloops-Thompson school district has allowed the CSF to acquire a school site so it can begin planning for the facilities required to provide K-12 francophone education."

The primary school was built for SD73 in 1981. The one-storey building includes four classrooms, a staff room, administration office space and an activity room. SD73 closed the school in 2006 due to declining student enrolment.

B.C.’s education ministry is also working with the CSF to fund and acquire school sites for francophone students in other communities, having earlier this year provided $11.5 million for the purchase of property in Penticton.

In 2019, the CSF opened the new École des Pionniers-de-Maillardville in Port Coquitlam.

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