School District 27 superintendent Chris van der Mark has offered a hand to the Williams Lake Dry Grad committee, who were left scrambling last month to find a new home for about 1,500 square feet of decorations currently stored in an old school slated for demolition.
“He said he would like to help us, so that’s really good news,” said dry grad organizer Michael Brinoni of van der Mark, who has offered to secure two, 40-foot storage containers for the group.
“I think it’s very gracious. They are very understanding of our situation and we are very appreciative that they offered to help.”
Brinoni and his wife Angie put out the call for help from the community Oct. 27 after receiving a head’s up from the Lake City Secondary School principal that they would have to relocate their decorations within the month.
The perception that the district was not being supportive of the dry grad committee left many in the community up in arms, and prompted the superintendent and trustees to clarify the matter at the Oct. 29 board meeting.
Trustee Angie Delainey said Chimney Creek Elementary School, where the dry grad decorations are stored, is a single storey building built in 1976 on a concrete slab with a flat roof. It received an addition in 1980 and, in 2002, ended its operations. Since then the building has been inactive with no heat and very little maintenance and “an ongoing vandalism” problem.
Delainey said SD 27 managed to secure a capital grant that will cover the full cost of the demolition, which has to be completed by March 31.
The decorations, therefore, need to be out of the building by the end of November, she said, noting the dry grad committee “has no connection to the district other than the using of Chimney Lake school for storage.”
At the meeting, van der Mark also clarified dry grad is not affiliated with the district, however, he is willing to help.
“The school district and our schools are certainly not looking to be the storer of this stuff but we will work with the dry grad folks around what the options are,” van der Mark said Tuesday, noting most schools and school districts around the province don’t store decorations for dry grad.
The dry grad committee held a meeting this week where they discussed options for where they can store the containers and also how to decorate in the future keeping their more limited storage in mind.
As far as the Chimney Creek Elementary School goes, once the old school building is removed the land will be returned to Crown in its natural state, Delainey said.