Penticton and South Okanagan
Oliver high school, out of the ashes
by Deborah Pfeiffer - Story: 97377
Aug 29, 2013 / 7:01 pm
Aug 29, 2013 / 7:01 pm
Photo: Deborah Pfeiffer - Penticton
Principal Marcus Toneatto.
Students entering grade 12 at Southern Okanagan Secondary School will start this school year in an actual high school building for the first time.
The older students have studied in portables up to now, first due to construction at the Oliver facility, then because of a fire that destroyed much of the school in September, 2011.
"I think we are going to have to work hard to contain the excitement," said Principal Marcus Toneatto. "Our grade 12 students have never studied in a single building, so this is a really big deal for them and all our teachers."
While, Tuesday, will mean a lot for those students and others who attend the school, it will also be a special day for the whole community, who were devastated with the loss of the school, including the historic auditorium, two years ago.
At the time, the school was undergoing a $29 million renovation, further complicating the situation.
Many attended the school at one time themselves, so there is a real attachment, said Toneatto.
"Our students are very fortunate, but this is really an event for the entire community."
There are still some finishing touches to be done. Crews were still at work both inside and outside the school Thursday, as teachers walked by with boxes or stopped in to talk with Toneatto in his office.
But the part that burned to the ground has all been replaced, including classrooms, the library, administrative offices and the counselling centre.
Meaning the 470 students expected to attend this year, will now be able to utilize the entire school, with the exception of the drama room and theatre, which are still under construction and will open in December.
The facility itself is state of the art, with high ceilings, wood beams, colourful flooring and every room outfitted with the latest technology.
"We are very appreciative of all the work that has been done to get us up and running," said Toneatto."And I am pleased to be a part of the next era for this school in Oliver."
A soft opening of the school on Gala Street will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 19. There will also be a meet the teacher, for parents of students at the school, from 7 to 8 p.m.
A grand opening, offering a number of activities to showcase the whole school including the theatre, will be held in December.
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