SD73 Board of Education Reviews Feedback on Draft Plans for New School in Pineview Valley

Posted On Wednesday September 06, 2023

By Heather Grieve, Board Chair

September 6, 2023

The Kamloops-Thompson board of education has advocated for a new school in Pineview Valley due to notable enrolment growth and space pressures in schools in the southwest sector of the city.

On Feb. 22, the Ministry of Education and Child Care announced funding for a new school in Pineview Valley. At that time, the board had been working with the McGowan future growth planning committee to problem solve what could be done if space pressures continued at McGowan Park elementary, which is 60 per cent above capacity.

The board of education is looking forward to the much-needed opportunity to have families experience the opening of the new Pineview Valley school in 2026.

We are especially excited about this unique location because it is near Python Lake, which is known for its natural beauty, protected species (painted turtle), and varied plants (mariposa lilies, yarrow and giant wildrye) and animals (a variety of butterflies, songbirds and ducks, as well as deer and many small mammals).

This location opens up so many opportunities for land-based learning and outdoor education and we are excited to be part of the development of this school.

The board initiated the Pineview Valley community engagement committee, with representatives from Tk’emlps te Secwépemc, the Aboriginal Education Council, the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association, CUPE 3500, the District Parent Advisory Council, the City of Kamloops, the Ministry of Education and Child Care and the Pineview Valley community.

We have worked with Station One Architects and school district staff to review and provide feedback on draft plans for the new school. We aim to meet in a cycle of gathering feedback, working on plans to respond to feedback, then bringing plans back to the group. The goal is to truly collaborate by listening to concerns and co-problem solving.

The themes from the first Pineview Valley community engagement meeting were reported to the board on May 15, at the regular public board meeting and included:

  • Importance of diverse indoor and outdoor space;
  • Flexible, adaptable spaces: ensuring multi-use spaces and rooms;
  • Beauty of the lake and trails: using nature to teach;
  • Neighbourhood learning centre: expand gym, add an Aboriginal education room and add a before- and after-school care room;
  • Pedagogies: active student engagement;
  • Facilities and grounds: ensure accessibility;
  • Storage: make sure there is enough

In meeting with other partner groups, including the Ministry of Forests, the Ministry of Environment and the Kamloops Naturalist Club, the following themes were shared:

  • Maintain the look and feel of the natural environment as much as possible;
  • Provide an appropriate development setback from riparian areas;
  • Provide natural vegetation for the relocated Python Creek stream channel;
  • Naturalize the west end of the site as much as possible to offset some of the natural features that will be removed;
  • Ensure that students are safe while also having access to the natural environment;
  • Develop a field that gives as much space as possible for students to engage in multi-use field activities.

The Kamloops-Thompson board of education looks forward to continuing to collaborate and engage with community partners through the committee as we look forward to opening Pineview Valley elementary in 2026.

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on September 6, 2023

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