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Officials await word on school

Education Minister George Abbott (centre), along with director of facilities Mitch Van Aller (right) tours the portables and rooms students at South Okanagan Secondary have been crowded into since the school burnt down last month. Abbott said they are still waiting on reports from insurance and RCMP investigators before they will commit to rebuilding the school. - Steve Kidd/Western News
Education Minister George Abbott (centre), along with director of facilities Mitch Van Aller (right) tours the portables and rooms students at South Okanagan Secondary have been crowded into since the school burnt down last month. Abbott said they are still waiting on reports from insurance and RCMP investigators before they will commit to rebuilding the school.
— image credit: Steve Kidd/Western News

School district officials are hoping to receive approval in early December from the Ministry of Education to rebuild South Okanagan Secondary School.

June Harrington, chair of School District 53, said students are back in classes with their full complement of courses as they were prior to the devastating fire that destroyed a sizable portion of the high school on Sept. 12.

Harrington said Mitch Van Aller, director of facilities, is working with a team of engineers to develop a report to provide the ministry and treasury board which will include three options for the rebuilding of the school. All options will include an auditorium and a Neighbourhoods of Learning facility.

“The board’s priority continues to be the students,” said Harrington. “We remain dedicated to offering the best possible educational program and opportunities available and are committed to doing everything possible to ensure a new, quality school is rebuilt. We will continue to update the community as we progress through the process.”

The district is hoping to have approval before the Christmas break of a conceptual drawing for the rebuilding of the school. At that time, the board of education will then invite representatives from the community to advise the district on design details of the auditorium before the construction drawings are established. Invitations are expected to be made in the new year once approval and a timeline have been established.

Currently, classes are being held in the technical education wing, the six existing portables along with 10 additional portables and one washroom facility. As of Tuesday, the west gym, including the weight room and change rooms, opened for physical education classes and noon-hour activities. The floor had to be removed in the new gym due to water damage and that area will be used as a lunch room for students, with cafeteria tables brought in until the floor is replaced.

 

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