It’s been a long road from discussion, to approval, to construction, but in just a few months, students and teachers will be inside the classrooms of the new Vernon Secondary School.
Vernon School District maintenance supervisor John Tompson says the project, which is moving closer to completion.
“I was thinking about the history of this project and how long it’s taken us to get to where we’re at,” said Tompson.
“Back in 2001/02, the ministry introduced a capital facility process to compare our building to provincial buildings and VSS was high on the list.”
In 2002/03, a feasibility study was undertaken to look at whether the school should be renovated or replaced. In 2008, the option to replace was approved.
“It’s been 10 years, and here we are and we’re actually going to move into the building, which is exciting,” said Tompson. “Everybody is getting anxious to move in — it’s a really nice building.”
Proposed occupancy of the school is set for early November, although students and staff won’t actually be making use of the building until after the Christmas break.
“All indications are that we’re on track and the building will be substantially completed by then, with the bulk of the move over the Christmas break.”
Once the new school is occupied, demolition of the old building will begin late January, early February.
“Most scopes of work will be above 97 per cent in completion by November, except for the geothermal system, demolition and overall landscaping.”
Tompson said the next challenge will be to move the equipment, furniture and teaching tools from the existing school to the new school and have them ready while having the least impact on the school operation itself.
“Shop areas, teaching kitchen, library, science areas and the administration office will be areas with the greatest impact on the school, with set-up of these areas taking about one month.
In December, the move will affect the shops, the library and the operation of the cafeteria.
“Once the school is occupied, typically a number of user group requests will be submitted to improve the learning spaces for students and teachers, and these will be addressed and completed using a combination of the general contractor and the school district workforces.”
Demolition, geothermal installation, mechanical heating and cooling systems, playfields and the teachers’ parking area will continue through the summer and fall of 2013.