Kamloops, B.C., elementary school destroyed by fire can expect new home by 2024

·2 min read
Kamloops, B.C., elementary school destroyed by fire can expect new home by 2024

A Kamloops, B.C., elementary school that was destroyed by fire more than a year ago can expect a new, expanded home three years from now, the province announced Monday.

Construction of the new Parkcrest Elementary School — which will be able to accommodate 510 students from kindergarten to Grade 6 — will begin in summer 2022, according to a news release from the B.C. Ministry of Education.

The new school is expected to open by spring 2024.

Flames gutted the original Parkcrest school on Sept. 5, 2019, forcing its 350 students to move to nearby George Hilliard Elementary School two weeks later.

"We're pretty excited," Parkcrest elementary principal Cath Gorman told Shelley Joyce, host of CBC's Daybreak Kamloops, about her staff's reaction. "[The province's] announcement was a great way to start a Monday morning."

The fire generated thick black smoke that could be seen floating across the Thompson River more than a kilometre away. Three staff members were in the building at the time of the fire and escaped safely.

Gorman says her staff and students are happy to stay at George Hilliard until the new school is complete. Meanwhile, she has a long wish list for the new site.

"We didn't have a lot of windows [at the old school] …windows [are] definitely one thing," she said. "A community room is amazing to have … those kinds of community events after hours are really important."

The City of Kamloops has committed no more than $2.5 million to build a larger gymnasium and change room facilities for sports events in the new Parkcrest elementary complex.

The province will invest $34.84 million and the Kamloops-Thompson School District will contribute $300,000 to rebuild the school.

The RCMP concluded its investigation in September 2019 and said the fire was not caused by arson.

Tap the link below to hear Cath Gorman's interview on Daybreak Kamloops: