Penticton and South Okanagan
Historic School re-opens in Peachland
Oct 5, 2013 / 6:26 pm
For the first time in over ten years, the Peachland Historic Primary School re-opened to the public Saturday afternoon.
Closed in 2001, the 100-year-old school was sold to the District of Peachland in 2003 but due to maintenance and building code deficiencies, could no longer be used as a public facility.
Now that the extensive renovations are complete, the Peachland Historic Primary School will operate as a Community Services Centre housing the Peachland Boys and Girls Club, Peachland Chamber of Commerce, Peachland Visitor Centre and the Legends of the Lake Interpretive Centre.
“The Peachland Historic Primary School is a piece of our history, and I am so pleased to see that it has been able to be revived into a hub of community gathering,” said Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton.
“Our provincial contribution of $400,000 through the Community Recreation Program is an investment in the future of Peachland, and I am confident that the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and the Peachland Chamber of Commerce will put their new home to community use for all the citizens of Peachland"
In 2009, the District of Peachland committed to keeping and restoring the Historic Primary School for community use. Funding for the renovation of the School came from a variety of sources, including the Province of British Columbia’s Community Recreation Program, the District of Peachland and others.
“The transformation of this building from a derelict, boarded-up eyesore to a magnificent new community facility has been an amazing accomplishment,” said Mayor Keith Fielding. “We now have space from which the Boys and Girls Club can deliver programs for children and youth, the Visitor Centre can showcase Peachland, local artists can exhibit their work, community groups can access meeting space, and the extraordinary bat colony that inhabits the attic can continue to call it their home.”
Beatrice Lucier graduated from the school in 1947. Hers was the last class to graduate from the school when it was still K-12 and proudly wore her class ring to the opening. In 1948 the Peachland School became the Peachland Primary school.
“I'm happy except for the name,” said Beatrice, who is 84-years-old. “I would have called it Peachland Historic School.”
Still, she is pleased with the changes overall and with how accessible the refurbished building is.
“I’m happy the building will stay and that more people will get to enjoy it now.”
Originally opened in 1908, the School fell significantly short of accessibility requirements. People using wheelchairs, strollers and/or other mobility aids were unable to access many features of the building in its existing condition, however recently completed renovations have incorporated an elevator access and accessible doorways, larger washrooms and lighting upgrades.
Alice May Macdonald lives in Peachland on Beach Ave. and came to the ribbon cutting with the use of a wheelchair. She accessed the building using the new elevator.
“It would be a real struggle for me to get up there without (the elevator),” she said.
“When they were deciding what to do about the building I thought, it’s a huge piece of property and maybe something more up-to-date would be more profitable but I think they’ve done a beautiful job.”
Read more Penticton / S. Okanagan News
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