Hockey school puts use of Penticton classrooms on ice

Okanagan Hockey School will no longer convert Queen’s Park Elementary classrooms into dormitory-style housing

  • Sep. 27, 2012 8:00 a.m.

Teachers at a Penticton elementary school will no longer have to pack up their classrooms every summer to make way for incoming hockey players.

The Okanagan Hockey School has given notice that it will no longer require use of Queen’s Park Elementary, bringing to an end a decades-long, summertime tradition of converting its classrooms to dormitory-style housing.

About 300 kids stayed at the school last summer, but that was “still not enough to make it go,” said Daryl Meyers, OHS residential life director.

She said more parents seem to be building vacations around their kids’ week-long hockey camp, prompting a move to accommodations for the entire family.

“There’s really been a huge change in demand for what people are looking for nowadays,” Meyers explained.

“It’ll be sad to see it go, but it’s a sign of the times.”

Not so sad for Queen’s Park staff though.

“Every June, every teacher had to pack up everything in their classroom, box it all up, and move absolutely everything out,” said Leslea Pryde, president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers Union.

“And then for start-up every year, unpack every box, put everything away again, put everything back up,” she continued.

“That is a big job to do.”

The school district received about $50,000 annually for use of the school, but only about $10,000 of that was profit, according to secretary-treasurer Ron Shongrunden.

Queen’s Park principal Rob Zoppi said the school annually received a “small stipend” from the proceeds that was usually put towards purchase of classroom materials.

He said teachers who had to pack up in June would get a half-day off to do so, while those who returned in September to unpack would get an additional full day.

Zoppi also noted the school has a “great relationship” with OHS, which runs its learn-to-skate program.

According to the OHS website, a week-long stay in the dorm cost $425, which included all meals and 24-hour supervision. Meyers said the organization is exploring the launch of a billet service for its summer students.