A new, expanded and energy-efficient Parkcrest Elementary school is on the way for students, families and the Brocklehurst community to learn, grow and succeed.

The new school will include capacity for more students, a neighbourhood learning centre and a larger gymnasium.

“Parkcrest students, staff and families have gone through a lot since they lost their school in a devastating fire, said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education.  “Schools are the foundation of our communities, and that’s why our government continues to invest in fast-growing communities like Kamloops. This new school will provide students, families and the community with an expanded, safe and modern learning environment that will allow them to grow and thrive in for many years to come.”

The Government of B.C. is investing $34.84 million and the Kamloops-Thompson School District is investing $300,000 in a new, 510-seat Kindergarten to Grade 6 Parkcrest Elementary. This replaces the former school, which was lost to fire in September 2019. The new school will be rebuilt with a capacity for an additional 120 students to prepare for expected enrolment growth in the community.

“The board of education is pleased to be able to begin the process of rebuilding the Parkcrest school,” said Rhonda Kershaw, Kamloops-Thompson Board Chair. “When completed, this bigger, brighter and modern space will be a welcome new home for the displaced school community. We look forward to our students and staff returning to their school and to be able to offer an expanded facility to the entire community.”

Construction is set to begin in summer 2022 and the school is expected to open by spring 2024. It will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards that will help to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving the school’s annual energy costs.

The City of Kamloops has committed up to $2.5 million for the additional space required for a larger gymnasium and change room facilities for sporting events. The school will also be home to a neighbourhood learning centre.

Board trustees at the Parkcrest site. From left, Cara McKelvey, vice-chair Meghan Wade, Joe Small, Kathleen Karpuk

The funding provides an opportunity to create space promoting strong school-community partnerships, using school facilities to meet the needs of children, youth, families and the Brocklehurst neighbourhood.

“Rebuilding the school supports a revitalized and expanding neighbourhood, and we are happy to partner in this project,” said Ken Christian, mayor, City of Kamloops. “Council has committed to the reconstruction of Parkcrest by providing up to $2.5 million to increase the gym size from elementary standards to a full-size, multi-purpose gymnasium. This not only benefits students but would also be available for booking by community and sports groups, providing much-needed access to indoor recreation space in Kamloops.”

“Our school community has been anxiously awaiting this news, and we are thrilled to learn that the funding is approved,” said Courtney Ball, chair, Parkcrest Elementary Parent Advisory Committee (pictured above). “We look forward to seeing shovels in the ground and our students and staff returning to a new Parkcrest. Our hearts have ached when seeing the empty lot, and we can’t wait for students and families to make new memories in a brand-new school.”

Investments in upgraded schools are part of the government’s commitment to ensure every B.C. student has better access to education, community services, recreation and culture. The Province recently invested $32.7 million in a 525-seat addition at the neighbouring Valleyview Secondary, set to open in September 2022.