After spring break, students at F.H. Collins Secondary School will lose more than a place to play sports, says the Liberals’ Sandy Silver.
For some at-risk students, a gym also serves as a “refuge,” he said.
“After school, it’s a safe place to go. Now, there’s other options – they can go hang out on the streets and get in trouble or whatever else,” he said. “But as far as after-school programing for youth, we are limited because of the size of the community.”
The loss of the gym is also particularly bad news for promising athletes. Silver worries the loss of the gym may hinder some students’ chances to play in post-secondary education, he said.
And teachers will also be deprived of a place to prepare lessons, make long-term plans or mark exams, he said.
Silver speaks from experience. He’s a former high school teacher and basketball coach.
The existing gym of F.H. Collins happens to stand where part of the new school is to be built, so it’s got to go. Starting in March, students won’t have a gym for the next two-and-a-half years.
It’s been suggested that students could be shuttled to the Canada Games Centre during that period, but no firm plan exists.
Department representatives are meeting with school administration, staff, the school council and community members to develop such a plan, said Education Minister Scott Kent.
The government will present the plan at an open house in November, he said.
That’s not enough, said Silver.
“There’s a lot of extra questions that are still being asked. A lot of people are still wondering about everything else other than actual courses,” he said.
As it stands, coaches – all volunteers – are left wondering where their teams will be able to play, said Silver.
The department has heard concerns about needing space for intramural sports, said Kent. And the government recognizes how important physical education is throughout a child’s education, said Kent.
“While it’s unfortunate that the existing gym is affected, I think that come Sept. 2015 when the new school opens, it will be something that all Yukoners can be proud of,” he said.
The date and location for the open house has not yet been set, said Kent.
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