British Columbia

Province to give $10.4M for new Hornby school after 2018 blaze

The Hornby Island Community School covers kindergarten to Grade 7, but its gym and other facilities were also used for recreation by island residents. The school burned down last year, and residents were worried that a replacement wouldn’t account for community needs.

When the island’s school burned down last year, the community lost its hub

The Hornby Island Community School was severely damaged in a fire in August, 2018. The province has just announced funding for its replacement, with construction slated to begin in fall 2020. (Supplied)

The province is providing $10.4 million for a new school on Hornby Island, B.C. where a fire in August 2018 severely damaged the existing institution. 

The new school will allow for an oversized gym to accommodate people who live on the small Gulf Island, which has a population of about 1,000.

The blaze destroyed a large portion of the school and portable classrooms were brought in to ensure students who attend kindergarten to Grade 7 on Hornby Island were kept in classes.

But the school provided more than just classroom space. It also served as a community centre and recreation space for island residents.

They were worried the community wouldn't be taken into consideration in the plans for a new school. 

But Education Minister Rob Fleming says the province worked with the school district to make sure that the new building would accommodate more than just students.

"The priority was an oversize gym for a school of that size, that will be of use to the community, beyond the classroom bell schedule, into the weekends," said Fleming. 

Andrea Kaback, with the parent advisory council said she's relieved.

"It was critical to our community, for our mental and physical health and wellbeing that that gym be put back into place." 

Kaback said there are still questions about design, and she'll fight for the community to have its say into what exactly the new space looks like. 

Construction is expected to start in fall 2020, with the new school slated to open in the fall of 2022. 

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