Whistler Secondary School has finally found a tenant during the Olympic Winter Games.
The school will be rented out to Contemporary Security Canada (CSC), the company that's overseeing private security services at Olympics venues, from Feb. 6 to March 1. The company will use the school's parking lot as a transportation hub during the Games.
"It's actually a really good fit for us," said Rick Hume, director of facilities and services with the Sea to Sky School District. "Because we're so close to their camp at Rainbow, I guess this just seems to work out for them, where they can house and keep their vehicles overnight in a secure spot and run out of that."
CSC is paying $75,000 to rent the school and district staff will be supervising its use 24/7.
"That's our school district policy," Hume said. "That there be a staff member in our buildings when we have a rental.
"You don't normally turn over your house to a stranger, give them the keys. We have a lot of expensive stuff in there, life safety stuff that's in the building if the fire alarm goes off. There's a lot of liability involved so that's why we need a staff member inside."
The rental comes after talks broke off between the school district and VANOC for the Olympic Organizing Committee to rent the school during the Games. The school board already decided to close the school for three and a half weeks but talks broke down with the committee when the school district felt the money being offered wasn't enough to meet its needs.
The school district then went looking for another group to rent the school. CSC approached the school district just before Christmas and a contract was finalized earlier this month.
Cathy Jewett, chair of the District Parents' Advisory Council said she's happy that high school students in Whistler won't be missing classes for naught.
"We're just glad to hear the school will be used after all," she said.
Jewett went on to say that the school has a big financial shortfall this year with cuts to facilities and direct access grants - both of which are used to provide library books and teaching aids. The money from CSC could help alleviate its financial strain, she said.
"This is a building that's owned by the school district and so the money is being shared throughout the school district so that everyone can share in the windfall," she said. "$75,000, from my understanding that's the gross amount. There'd have to be expenses like hydro, custodial fees, snow clearing, those things would have to be expensed on top of that and a $75,000 would barely cover teachers' wages."