The joy of moving to a new building has been tempered with some disappointment for staff and students at Vernon Secondary School following the discovery of some problems, including a leaky roof.
At the end of the first week in the new building, staff and students are generally pleased with the open spaces, large windows and new classrooms. However, the move across the playing fields from the old brick building hasn't been without its difficulties.
Principal Morris Vardabasso said seams around some of the vents on the roof were not properly sealed, and when the dump of snow began to melt this week, leaks appeared in a couple of the rooms.
District secretary-treasurer Randy Hoffman said the leaks hadn't been brought to his attention, but added, "We have a meeting planned for Monday, and we will be given a list of all the deficiencies in the building."
While the move was relatively seamless for most of the staff, teachers in the shops wing are experiencing some frustrations.
Photography teacher Randy Kaneda loves the physical space of his new main room, but the darkroom labs are not ready for his students.
"My expectation was that the room would be ready to go," he said, but discovered that the sink in the enlarging room isn't large enough to hold the trays of developer, the red lights haven't been installed, the film processing room included a window and the temperature control gauge was installed out of sight in a cabinet.
In the art room next door, plugs for the kilns were installed in the wrong place and are currently sealed.
"I can't do any clay work yet," Kaneda said.
He also is concerned that the lighting in both rooms is not bright enough for the high ceilings in the labs.
"I think it's classroom lighting, not shop lighting," he said.
Across the hall, woodwork teacher Tyler Russel has no power for his machines.
"I can use hand tools that can plug into a 110 (volt) outlet, but the larger machines can't be used yet," Russel said.
The dust collection system is not working, and new equipment, including hand tools, table saws and thickness planers, haven't arrived yet.
Like Kaneda, Russel thinks his new shop and the one next door are great spaces, but he's frustrated that he is unable to deliver the curriculum.
"Once we get it all dialed up, it's going to be great," he said, "but the transition is hard."
Cooking teacher Jill Benz is waiting for her new stoves to be delivered. In the meantime, "I have nothing except the microwave that works . . . and I can't offer the curriculum," Benz said.
Hoffman said the stoves had been held up by the closures of the Coquihalla earlier this week, and that they had arrived in Vernon on Friday and will be installed early next week.
"Most teachers have a list of deficiencies," said Vardabasso, "and we will prioritize them."
"There are two (teacher) lists that we will deal with," said Hoffman. "First is the list of things teachers can't teach without, and the second is a list of necessary fixes and changes, such as plugs in the wrong places or something not working."
The school board decided the contractors, Yellowridge Construction of Port Moody, B.C., can only work on the deficiencies after school hours, when no students are in the building.
"They might have to turn off power, for example," said Hoffman, "and that would be disruptive."
The board will meet with the contractors on Monday to present them with lists of deficiencies from the staff at VSS and from MQM, the architects for the building.
"Once the deficiencies have been dealt with, they will turn the building over to the school district," said Hoffman, "but they won't be paid until the work is complete."
Hoffman expects the project to continue for a while, with work on paint, flooring and some electrical outlets.