Jacqueline Mansiere of the Summerland Secondary School senior girls Rockets basketball team reaches for the ball during a game against Fulton during the Okanagan Valley AA Championships in February, 2020. The gym, constructed in 1951, is aging and the Okanagan Skaha School District is planning to replace it. (Summerland Review file photo)

Jacqueline Mansiere of the Summerland Secondary School senior girls Rockets basketball team reaches for the ball during a game against Fulton during the Okanagan Valley AA Championships in February, 2020. The gym, constructed in 1951, is aging and the Okanagan Skaha School District is planning to replace it. (Summerland Review file photo)

Summerland high school gym replacement postponed

Plans to demolish and rebuild aging structure won’t go ahead this year

The gym at Summerland Secondary School will remain open for this year as plans to replace the aging structure have been delayed.

In June 2020, the Okanagan Skaha School Board announced its plan to commit $10.5 million to the demolition and rebuild of the high school gym. Formal approval from the Ministry of Education to proceed on the project was received in December 2020.

The school gym was built in 1951 and is not big enough for regulation sports courts.

Building a new gym at Summerland Secondary School has been a capital priority for the school board for many years. The project is being funded from the proceeds from the sale of the McNicoll Park Middle School property in Penticton in February 2020.

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However, the timeline for the project has changed. The initial plan for the project was to begin construction in the fall of 2021 and have a new gym available to students in the 2022 to 2023 school year. Because of issues identified through preliminary work, including challenges connected to demolition and construction timelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, these targets were delayed.

“Upon review of the project, the board felt strongly that a prolonged construction timeline that could potentially impact a second school year would not be appropriate for our students, the school or the community of Summerland,” said James Palanio, chair of the school board.

“As we have returned to more regular in-class instruction and athletic activities this fall, we want to ensure our students learning and physical activity is supported through a seamless transition back to school both this year and next. We look forward to submitting a new proposal to the Ministry of Education that retains the existing Summerland Secondary gym and keeps it open for our students while building a new gym.”

The school board has completed a review of the project and has received permission from the Ministry of Education to halt the approved gymnasium replacement and re-submit an alternate proposal to retain the existing gymnasium and build a second gymnasium on site.

The board continues to work closely with the Ministry of Education Capital Branch. The school district will immediately begin the process of analysis and project submission of building a stand along gym at Summerland Secondary School while retaining the existing gym. Regular updates on this progress will be provided to the community.

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