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View From SD73: Pineview Valley school soon a reality

The board of education has been advocating for a new school in this community for many years
Heather Grieve column head

On Feb. 22, the Kamloops-Thompson board of education received a Ministry of Education and Child Care funding announcement for a new school in the Pineview Valley community.

Pineview Valley elementary has been on the board’s capital plan since June 2018 (third priority) and was our first priority in June 2021. It first appeared on the board’s capital plan in 2014-2015.

We look forward to the opportunity to open a new school in 2026 that will have 456 spaces for Pineview Valley students. It will be the second-largest elementary school in the district, after the new Parkcrest facility opens with 476 seats (operating capacity).

The board of education has been advocating for a new school in this community for many years.

On June 14, 2022, in my capacity as board chair, I sent a letter to then-education minister Jennifer Whiteside to emphasize the extreme need for a new school in Pineview Valley because McGowan Park elementary in Upper Sahali, where the majority of students in Pineview Valley attend, was at 166 per cent of capacity.

On Jan. 23 and Jan. 24 of this year, the board was honoured to welcome Education Minister Rachna Singh during her visit to Kamloops. Singh met with the board and spent time with the Aboriginal Education Council, inclusive education staff (to learn about inclusive sexual health) and the Student Equity Council just prior to the provincial announcement of the provincial government’s K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan.

The board posted the brief that it had shared with Singh, which identified its capital priorities, namely the need for a new school in Pineview Valley.

As we wait for the design and building process to unfold, we will continue to work collaboratively with the community to alleviate space pressures when possible until the new school is completed.

School district facilities director Art McDonald and his team have been working hard to expedite all aspects of this project, while school district Supt. Rhonda Nixon and the senior executive team have been meeting with McGowan Park elementary staff and parents and will continue to meet with them to ensure supports are in place as they await opening of the new school.

As we progress through the exciting next steps of the design-build process, we look forward to sharing with the community the growth of the facility and families who will be attending Pineview Valley elementary.

Heather Grieve is chair of the Kamloops-Thompson (School District 73) board of education. Grieve can be contacted via email at SD73 columns appear monthly in KTW and online at monthly.