The Williams Lake Dry Grad is in a dilemma when it comes to the storage of its decorations.
Current Dry Grad chair, Angie Brinoni said they have been given very little notice that the Chimney Valley School where their extensive collection of decorations are currently stored has been selected by School District 27 and the Province to go back to its natural state for tear down.
“No one in the District has any other suggestions to where we could store things. Glendale is full, Wildwood is unusable, and we asked if we could put sea-can containers on one of School District 27’s school sites and that wasn’t an option either,” Brinoni said.
“The District’s response was that they’re not responsible for the dry grad materials, so we’re kind of in a predicament because it’s a lot of money in decorations-$15,000 to $20,000 worth of decorating materials. Just the fabric alone which has to be fireproof that hangs around the exterior of the arena every year is $200 or so a roll, and there’s probably $4,000, $5,000 worth of fabric. If we can’t find somewhere to store whatever is left in the school it will be destroyed with the school, and we’ll lose all those decorations and we won’t be able to put on a dry grad.”
Executive Assistant and Manager of Communications for School District 27, Carrie Pratt said the District has as a courtesy provided the use of Chimney Creek School for storage to the Dry Grad Committee. She said the school has not been operational for some time and was slated for demolition under the District’s 5-year Capital Plan published in June.
“Discussions about the demolition of the building are still at the Board level but as soon as a decision is reached the public will be made aware,” Pratt added.
“The property that Chimney Creek School sits on is crown land and therefore must be returned to its original state.”
Chair of clean-up for Dry Grad, Michael Brinoni estimates that they only have a few weeks before the building is demolished.
“If we could find a space that has 1,500 square feet, it would be enough to be able to store stuff from year to year or just even a temporary solution for this year until we can to get the next year, but we definitely need to do something this year.”
Michael said Lee Todd of Eldorado Enterprises has donated a twenty-foot container for use on his property that Angie said could be used to store some of their fabric and lights.
“We’re looking for a space that we could lease or rent that wouldn’t eat up our whole gry grad budget because we do all our fundraising to give the kids prizes, entertainment, and activities and decorate the prom, so if you’re using the lion share of that to pay for storage you’re not going to be able to provide such an extravagant wonderful send-off to these children, and I think it’s a really important milestone in our community” Angie said.
“This will be the 32nd year we’ve done dry grad in Williams Lake. We’ve had no fatalities on our dry grad weekends or car accidents for years and years and years, so it really promotes the safety, it gives the children something to look forward to, and it’s an inclusive dry grad. It doesn’t matter what school you go to, doesn’t matter if you can afford it; we have a fund and everybody is welcome. It’s a huge milestone for these kids and we’d hate to see having to shut dry grad down because we don’t have a space to store everything.”