Re-elected school board chair sees busy year ahead

Denise Harper expects the next 12 months to be busy

Tim Petruk - Kamloops This Week

Denise Harper expects the next 12 months to be busy.

After being re-elected chairwoman at the Dec. 3 regular meeting of the Kamloops-Thompson school district's board of education, the trustee from Chase wasted no time looking ahead.

"It will be a busy year," Harper told KTW. "I think there is going to be a lot going on."

With funding secured and approval for the NorKam trades project in the board's rearview mirror, Harper said the district has now set its sights on an even bigger target - South Kamloops secondary.

"That's going to be our next big push," she said, describing the need for a revamp at South Kam as "increasingly critical.

"I know the government finally came up with dollars for NorKam and they may think us ungrateful, but it's just that our needs are many."

If the district had its way, Harper said, South Kam would be torn down and completely rebuilt.

"In a perfect world, where money is no object, that would be the case," she said.

"But, unfortunately, I don't think that will happen."

District officials have applied for $12.4-million in provincial funding for a smaller-scale fix - replacing South Kam's antiquated gymnasium and change rooms, as well as adding a number of new classrooms.

"It's customary we send a wish list in," Harper said.

"But, the last few years they've come back no.

The NorKam trades and technology centre is slated for completion in September 2014.

Harper said the board recently chose an architectural firm - which will be announced in the coming days - to complete the project.

Renderings are expected in the spring.

Harper said she is also looking forward to a pair of public consultations in the New Year - one dealing with potential charges for bus service; the other in regard to potential school-year calendar changes.

"It will be busy," she said.