Update: 12:45 p.m. April 8, 2013
The conversion of the former John Tod School in the North Shore to a community centre will be aided by $250,000 in federal grant money, MP Cathy McLeod announced this morning.
The funding – granted through the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund – will help cover the costs of engineering and design as well as the necessary interior and exterior upgrades to get the site to the point of being able to house the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops and the Kamloops YMCA/YWCA on a permanent basis, as well as other community user groups.
McLeod spoke of her “past life” as a child care licensing officer and said she could “attest to the amazing work these organizations do for our children, the do tremendous work.”
School District 73 superintendent and Kamloops YMCA/YWCA president Karl deBruijn said the district entered in to a long-term nominal lease with the city, necessary under strict government restrictions and regulations. The revitalization is a welcome proposition to the community - neighbours have been helping to keep vandalism at bay by reporting anything they see to the district and actively monitoring the area.
“It's never good to have an idle building,” deBruijn said, noting the decision to close the school had been especially hard on him as a former student.
At a recent budget meeting the city agreed to funding $905,000 of the project from a reserve fund but had also applied for federal grants last fall. The renovations, expected to cost around $1.5-million, will complete the lease of the old school to the city which will in turn be sub-leased to the youth groups.
The city will now take over the cost of maintaining the building, deBruijn noted, which relieves the burden on the school district. The lease on the site leaves only one former school site without human tenants, though Westsyde Elementary School is leased by the city already and is used as storage. The Westsyde school will also be the new home of the air cadets in the future.
Many city councillors have been quite happy to see the interest in North Shore revitalization and were on hand for the Monday, April 8, announcement. Coun. Nancy Bepple said at a recent budget meeting “the biggest plus is (the city is) going to get a fantastic new centre that will serve a large portion of our population.”
Last June the city and the school district announced the partnership that would see the old school transformed in to the new North Shore Community Centre and sub-leased to community partners.
DeBruijn said he is optimistically hoping for a 2014 move-in date.
Mayor Peter Milobar said the $250,000 was the full amount the city applied for, and was also the maximum amount allowed. The two year program will see a total of $150-million invested to rehabilitate and improve existing community infrastructure across Canada.
9:31 a.m. April 8, 2013
An announcement later this morning could result in federal cash for the conversion of the former John Tod Elementary School in the North Shore to a community centre.
The renovations, expected to cost around $1.5-million, will complete the transfer of the old school to the city which will in turn be leased to the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops and the Kamloops YMCA/YWCA.
At a recent budget meeting the city agreed to funding $905,000 of the project from taxation but had also applied for federal grants last fall. According to a press release Kamloops MP Kathy McLeod “will make an announcement supporting community infrastructure in Kamloops” at the McGowan Avenue site later this morning.
To contact a reporter for this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250) 819-3723.
The former John Tod School in the North Shore will be transformed in to a community centre in the near future.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)