- BC Games
Connect with Us
FOULDS: Old and creaky — but South Kam continues to do its job
My daughter attends South Kamloops secondary.
She is in her second year at the old school and, from her first day in Grade 8 last year, has regaled me with tales of the decrepitude that encompasses the campus.
The gymnasium and change rooms form most of the narrative, though there is plenty of time to list deficiencies found elsewhere in the school.
The South Kam building is fairly old — 61 years, though a mere infant compared to nearby Stuart Wood elementary, which has been housing students for more than a century.
For students entering South Kam from relatively newer elementary schools, the aging structure can only add to the shock of the drastic change that accompanies transitioning from Grade 7 to Grade 8.
While the Kamloops-Thompson school district has drawn up its wish list and handed it to Education Minister Peter Fassbender, the reality is my daughter and her friends will have long graduated by the time the first shovel is placed into the ground at Ninth and Munro.
If and when a new South Kam rises, it will be a half-decade or more before work even begins in the project.
The school district wants to replace South Kam and believes $43 million will get the job done.
The district also wants to expand Westmount elementary for about $9 million.
Then there is the $1.7 million needed to make the John Peterson building at South Kam a kindergarten to Grade 12 facility for the Beattie School of the Fine Arts.
All worthy goals, to be sure, but also all worthy goals competing with equally worthy goals in school districts across the province.
Fassbender was in Kamloops last week to help with the ceremonial groundbreaking of NorKam secondary’s trades centre.
He acknowledged a new South Kam is a priority, but reminded Kamloopsians there are many such priorities throughout B.C.
It would be interesting to see a provincial list of schools that need to be replaced.
It would be interesting to compare the schools and learn where South Kam stands in the priority queue.
I have walked the halls of the school a few times.
I have visited the gym.
The smell upon entering the school always brings me back to my high-school years, when I attended a school that was born right about the same time.
My alma mater, Abbotsford Senior secondary, was opened in 1955 and was, like South Kam, the largest school in the district, housing 1,000-plus students.
When I roamed its halls, the building was about 30 years old and showing a bit of wear and tear.
I last entered that building about eight years ago and it seemed to be in fairly good shape.
Last year, it fell to the wrecking ball as a gleaming new glass-dominated Abby Senior opened right across the field from a new Abby Junior.
Those are millions and millions of dollars in new buildings in a relatively short timespan.
If a new South Kam looks anything like the new Abby Senior, future students are in for a treat.
In the meantime, the Titans now navigating the creaky halls of South Kam will have to make do in a building that, despite its shortcomings, has continued to have teachers mentor war kids, beatniks, hippies, disco kings, Valley girls, grunge lovers and rap fans through the generations.