Thornhill principal Jane Arbuckle stands in front of the school’s trophy case. She has been principal at the school for the past four years

Only the trophies remain

Thornhill Junior closes its doors for good, but what will become of the memorabilia left inside?

As Thornhill Junior Secondary School closes its doors to students for the last time this week, the question on many people’s lips is, ‘But what’s going to happen to all of the stuff?’

For some items, like desks, chairs, textbooks and shop equipment, the answer is fairly simple – first, they will be offered to Skeena Middle School and Caledonia Senior Secondary to be used to furnish the portables just moved in to each location and to fill any equipment or supplies needs they may have.

“The resources follow the students,” said Thornhill principal Jane Arbuckle, who has been watching trollies of textbooks get ready to roll out of Thornhill’s doors for weeks now. “Why would you pay for something you already have?” said Arbuckle of using items from her school to help out the ones remaining open.

Once Skeena and Caledonia claim their picks, what’s left will be offered to the other schools in the district. After that, they’ll go to public auction – a process that can take about a year – or be placed into storage for future use.

One tradition that ends with the closing of Thornhill’s doors, and that won’t be able to be placed into storage for future use, are the colourful ceiling tile covers peppered throughout the school created by past graduates.

Arbuckle has entertained a small number of requests from former students to collect their tiles – she says they have special, sentimental meaning to some former students.

‘“As far as banners and trophies go, we hope the gym will stay open. We haven’t made any final decisions,” said Arbuckle. “We’re not wanting to remove anything like that because we hope the building will still be used.”

“It’s a beautiful gym,” she said, adding that the banners and trophies make up “the history of the building.”

“There’s no protocol for closing a school,” she continued of the decision brought on by declining school enrollments.

But what happens to the banners and trophies isn’t up to the community – the building is owned by the school district, and unless they find a group (or groups) willing to incur the costs of operating the building, the school will remain dark.

“It’s not cheap to run that building,” said John Garossino, director of facilities for the Coast Mountains school district. “We’re talking $50-$60,000 a year just for energy.” Maintenance, snow removal and custodial costs would be on top of that.

“But we are open for proposals,” said Garossino. “We would look at any proposal in which there is a body, a group, who would carry insurance, use the building, and cover the costs.”

At this time, there is no agreement – just preliminary talks between the Kitimat-Stikine regional district and Terrace parks and recreation to discuss options.

“It was a necessary decision to close, the board believes,” Garossino said. “But it’s still a community asset.”

But he said the school board’s position is clear that it would rather spend money on education than on buildings. “We don’t want to spend education dollars on the building,” he said.

Wanting to keep the banners and trophies up, is an “admirable position,” said Garossino. But in his experience, “with all of the schools we’ve closed, it usually gets boxed up and put into archives.”

“But lets just take one step at a time,” he said.

Ultimately, he thinks the utilization of the building will be resolved. “Between [Terrace] parks and rec, the regional district, the community groups, they might be able to raise a substantial amount to run parts of the building,” he said.

Community groups use the gym regularly, including badminton and archery clubs, indoor volleyball and soccer leagues. The foyer attached to the gym is also used as a local polling station.

“I hate to think of where all of those groups are going to go in the fall,” said Arbuckle.

This past Friday, June 22, Thornhill hosted one last event, what Arbuckle called an open house to close the house. There was food, live music, old yearbook photos decorating the walls, and alumni had the opportunity to purchase school-branded clothing and merchandise from the past 37 years.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Nicole Halbauer seeks B.C. NDP nomination for Skeena riding

Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read