No immediate plans for a new SKSS

By Jessica Lepp
December 9, 2015 - 4:37pm Updated: December 9, 2015 - 5:40pm

KAMLOOPS — Replacing South Kamloops Secondary School is a high priority for the Kamloops Thompson School District - but the same can't be said for the province, at least not yet.

Today, B.C.'s Education Minister was given a tour of the decrepit school built back in the 1950's.

While any sort of a financial comitment was not forthcoming, the minister admitted the school is not built for the 21st century.

It was an eye opener for Education Minister Mike Bernier as he walked through SKSS.

He started his tour in the school's gymnasium, a room that isn't large enough to hold the entire student population during assemblies.  

Bernier says, "When you look at a building built in the 1950s, obviously there's issues around accessibility."

SKSS was built in 1952, and unfortunately a fresh coat of paint can only go so far.

Superintendent of S.D. 73 Karl deBruijn says, "It's an old building. You can see our maintenance department is working hard to keep it up. We can dress it up and paint it up but one challenge is the infrastructure itself."

"The wiring is inadequate to run all electrical systems we need to run now for computers and technical learning that we're doing," deBruijn said.

DeBruijn says there are also health concerns with undergoing certain renovations.

"You saw the path work of linoleum, it's like an archaeological dig. You can go through it year after year and replace it but some of it has asbestos in it. It's fine unless you disturb it. Then it's a problem."

While building a new South Kamloops Secondary is a priority for the district, it's not exactly top of mind for the province.

Bernier said, "For this particular school, it's one we'll continue working with the school board on. But it's not something that in short term I can say we'll be able to replace, to be frank. We will continue to work with the School Board."

While the reality of a new and improved SKSS doesn't appear likely anytime soon, there is confidence for a long term rebuild.

SKSS Principal Rick Kienlein says he expects the school will eventually be rebuilt in the next 10 to 20 years.

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