The Kamloops-Thompson board of Education hosted the grand opening of the Valleyview secondary expansion project on Tuesday.
This $34.8-million addition has resulted in 20 new classroom spaces and expanded common areas that enable staff and students to be more comfortable and connected.
In the decades since the last major capital project, the design for school learning spaces has changed.
The east wing at Valleyview secondary has expansive windows, common areas for students to gather casually between classes, natural wood accents and inclusive washrooms.
“There are now 525 more seats, which are much needed now that our school has over 1,000 students,” principal Cory Carmichael said.
“The students enjoy the flexible seating throughout the school, the wide hallways and stairwells and outdoor gathering spaces.”
Added SD73 Supt. Rhonda Nixon: “Our students and parents are also looking forward to a new gymnasium, multipurpose spaces and innovative classrooms like film studios and a drafting room.”
On March 8, there was an informal gathering to walk through the new wing.
The SD73 facilities department was celebrated by the board of education for persisting through supply chain issues that arose, especially in the final stages of the project.
At that time, the wing was under construction, so students and staff used parts of it for some classes. For the celebration on Tuesday, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kúkpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir brought greetings on behalf of her band, Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian shared his excitement on behalf of city council, Shelly Frost spoke on behalf of Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone and board of education vice-chair Meghan Wade read Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside’s statement and spoke on behalf of the board.
In addition, Nixon highlighted the work of staff, facilities director Art McDonald shared the work of his staff on the expansion, Valleyview secondary parent advisory council chair Tara Hess emphasized parental support for this expansion, teacher Roger Turner shared the positive impact of the extension on teaching and learning; and students Danna Campbell, Rachel Farrow and Levi Purves spoke to their current experiences learning in a rejuvenated space and one that has relieved pressure on what were overcrowded hallways and classrooms.
“I believe that the expansion of Valleyview secondary will uplift students and their well-being in the new learning space provided,”Danna said.
Rachel added: “Students at Valleyview secondary are able to better their education in a new space where everybody feels welcome.
We have seen improvements in the overall learning environment, with benefits to students and teachers alike.” Levi is thankful for the expansion at the school.
“Valleyview secondary has become a place for resident students and teachers to be proud of and I am grateful for a new chapter in our school’s history,” Levi said.
The expansion of Valleyview secondary was a long time coming, and we are proud that students are finally experiencing the benefits of it in 2022.
Heather Grieve is a School District 72 trustee and chair of the board of education. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. SD73 columns appear monthly in KTW and online at kamloopsthisweek.com.