Maintenance facility named after Hope trustee

The new building pays tribute to Jim Sinclair's 30 years on the school board

For the first time in history, a building in the Fraser-Cascade school district is being named after a trustee.

The Jim Sinclair Maintenance Centre on Seventh Avenue pays tribute to the Hope resident’s 30 years as board member.

“It’s a great honour and I am very humbled,” said Sinclair.

“You don’t expect these kind of things. You don’t get a thank you very often since schools are always a hot spot for parents.”

The building has been Sinclair’s dream since the amalgamation of the Agassiz and Hope school districts in 1997.

However, it’s taken more than a decade for the district to secure funding to bring the project to fruition.

The 5,850 square feet (543.48 square metres) facility adjacent to the district administrative office replaces the existing 50-year-old structure located near the Gardner GM dealership. The building has outdoor stalls for bus parking, and will be used for quick repairs and inspections. There is also a maintenance shop, and offices for operations and technology support staff.

A grand opening ceremony for the building will be held on Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. Several local dignitaries will be in attendance, including Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O’Mahony.

“Our event will allow people to tour the facility and have a bite to eat and meet with Jim, our trustees and staff,” said secretary-treasurer Natalie Lowe-Zucchet. “The board and staff are very proud of the new maintenance shop … which is named for a person that I believe most of the community knows and every one would agree deserves the honour for his long standing support of public education.”

Sinclair moved to Hope in 1973 and started the HUB International insurance office on Wallace Street. He also served as Rotary Club member for 36 years and was responsible for the Student of the Month program.

As a parent of three daughters in the local school district, he saw opportunities for change which eventually motivated him to run for a seat on the board. Sinclair was first elected as a trustee in 1981.

Over the years, he was very involved with First Nations education and improving the learning conditions for these students. Working with students and getting to know teachers was also a priority.

“I really felt attached to the kids,” said Sinclair. “I enjoyed the politics of (the job) and trying to work together to get things done. I was doing something that I really enjoyed – seeing young people get what they need to learn.”