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School district sends off salvaged Courtenay school lumber

Material able to be repurposed from site includes old fir floor joists

School District 71 has found a destination for some of the wood from the old portions of Lake Trail Community School.

This fall, the district opened the doors on the new site next door. At the time, there were some in the community who wanted to know why the district was not repurposing materials from the old building.

“There’d been those concerns that, ‘Oh, my gosh, you guys are just bashing it down,’” said director of operations Ian Heselgrave. “We’re being a little more thoughtful than that.”

He said the district did have some ways of reusing materials, though not everything could be used for a variety of reasons, including challenges posed by the presence of some hazardous materials. The district also received capital funding from the province for the new site, so the project was on a budget and deconstruction can be expensive.

Heselgrave said they were able to recover a lot of quality wood, such as floor joists and even material like plywood. Of the joists, Heselgrave said, “It’s beautiful fir…. It’s stuff that would have been cut a long time ago.”

On Wednesday, crews were salvaging the structures and loading them to be taken away.

“They actually took the roof apart in sections,” he said. “They do a really thoughtful job of taking it apart.”

At midday, they loaded wood on a truck to be shipped out to a deconstruction company in Coombs.

“It’ll be scooted off to places like Demxx,” Heselgrave said. “They’re a really, really good company. They recycle a ton of building material…. It’s super-organized, almost like a lumberyard.”

In all, the school district has taken about 64,000 kg (140,000 lb.) of wood out of the school for re-use.

RELATED STORY: Comox Strathcona waste board questions lack of wood use from old school

In the fall, the question of reusing materials from the old Lake Trail site came up at a meeting of Comox Strathcona Waste Management, with some board members wondering why items such as flooring from the old gym was not being used.

In response, Heselgrave told the Record that, in addition to some of the wood, the district had found other materials to salvage. In addition, School District 71 also has a partnership with the University of British Columbia’s civil engineering program to use sections of a wall and the roof for research into how past building materials respond to seismic activity.

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The reclaimed wood from Lake Trail will be going to a resale business in Coombs. Photo by Mike Chouinard
The crew adds some lumber to the load. Photo by Mike Chouinard