As many are aware a planned renovation last year to the Pleasant Valley Secondary School (PVSS) gym uncovered unexpected and significant structural damage. Since the discovery, SD83 has been working hard to get the necessary approvals and funding in place to replace the gym, explains School District No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap) Secretary Treasurer Dale Culler.
“Since the discovery last Spring, we have been in constant contact with the Ministry trying to expedite a solution. However, this is a major project and will take time.”
PVSS’ gym is the top request in SD83’s major capital project submission, The Ministry is currently considering SD83’s emergency funding application and SD83 is hopeful approval should be complete soon. Design work and preparations are already under way, and as soon as that approval is in place, SD83 will be ready to start demolition. Although it’s not known for sure, it is very likely that the gym will be a complete rebuild.
What’s happening right now? What about the students?
SD83 Director of Operations Travis Elwood explains temporary shoring is being installed to properly support the roof structure and ensure the rest of the building is safe, however the gym cannot be used.
In the meantime, the School District is providing PVSS with a bus to transport students each day to community facilities so that PVSS can continue to have an athletics program. “We are so very grateful to our fellow schools and Armstrong Parks and Recreation for being such fabulous supports to us at this time. Assemblies and cultural performances are not actually allowed to happen right now under the Provincial Health Order, but when we can, we will utilize the auditorium and have repeat performances. We recognize that is not an ideal situation, but we are doing the best we can,” reports Principal Chelsea Prince.
Structural damage which occurred decades ago, was discovered last May during the early stages of a retrofit of Pleasant Valley Secondary School gym. The project (which was supposed to include a new floor, new bleachers, a new gym curtain, and a general facelift to the space) was halted when the contractor raised concern about evidence of fire and structural damage which wasn’t properly fixed in the ceiling of the gym. Using the engineers and architects involved in the renovation project, structural assessments of the gym were conducted in order to determine the severity of the damage. Both structural reports deemed the gymnasium unsafe for use until major repairs are completed.
The fire in question took place in 1976, at that time the roof trusses, wiring, and insulation were damaged by the heat of the fire. Repairs at the time dealt with the observable damage while the unseen effects caused by the heat from the fire on the steel structure was not addressed. Over time the weight on the roof from snow and water caused the structure to bend and become structurally unsafe.
Prince notes that although it will take time and patience, once this process is complete, PVSS will have a beautiful facility that students and the community can use for generations to come. “As soon as we have news, we will share it with our school and community. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me or Vice-Principal Deanna Brennan.”