Staff at C.E. Barry was happy to learn the board has given unanimous approval to seismic upgrades at their school.
The school board voted Tuesday in support of keeping C.E. Barry intermediate school open, and applying for funding to have seismic upgrade work completed. The school is on a high priority list for seismic upgrades. However, low enrolment in the district meant there is an option to close the school and move the students to different locations. Trustee Pat Furness brought the issue to the board, following a special meeting held last week to discuss the school’s future.
“Emotions were evident,” she said, from both parents and school staff, adding that it was a very collaborative meeting involving many different groups. Furness said she came away with the feeling of overwhelming support of C.E. Barry.
“We should keep that school,” she said. “Hope likes the concept of a middle school.”
The school, which currently has 156 students in Grades 5-7, is also used by various community groups, including the Hope BC Team Fit, which uses the school for training sessions for the Vancouver Sun Run. The school is also used two nights a week for community badminton, and starting next year, pickle ball. A consultant brought in to study the issue suggested students be shuffled to Coquihalla elementary.
There is money available to the Fraser Cascade school district for the needed seismic upgrades, said treasurer Natalie Lowe-Zucchet.
“If there were a seismic event,” she said, “the school wouldn’t handle it.”
She said the support of the board is important in presenting their plan for the school to the province.
Trustee Tom Hendrickson said the support for C.E. Barry is enough to keep it open, and that Hope is a growing community.
“I see Hope growing in the next 25 years and we have to think years ahead,” he said.
Principal Karl Koslowsky attended the meeting and thanked the board for their support.
At school the next day, he was able to share the good news.
“The mood was wonderful, excited,” he said. “They were very pleased to hear that it was a unanimous vote, and felt supported in the motion for CE Barry School to remain as an educational partner in the Hope community.”
Trustee Linda McMullen was absent.