The B.C. government is providing $28 million under B.C.'s Skills and Training Plan to expand and renovate trades training facilities at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, ensuring future welders, heavy-duty mechanics, electricians, plumbers and other skilled workers will get the training they need.
The existing shops and classrooms will be fully renovated and retrofitted to modernize and better utilize the space. A two-storey addition will more than double the size of the complex, providing needed student space and innovative classrooms for trades and technology programs specifically focused on skills development, training and upgrading.
The project responds to a growing demand for trades-related training. At the Kelowna campus trades training has more than doubled over the last 10 years, requiring the addition of two off-site leased facilities. The renewal project will bring more than 750 students back to the main campus.
Once completed, the new Trades Complex will be able to accommodate up to 2,408 students and apprentices, up from the current capacity of about 2,280.
The college will be incorporating LEED platinum certification green design principles for efficient use of interior and exterior space and the use of renewable energy sources and materials to improve its carbon footprint. The project will be the first of its kind in British Columbia to transform a complex of this age - originally constructed in the 1960s - size, and diversity into a modern learning space that is energy neutral.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology, was joined by students, instructors and representatives from the community and industry to officially launch the renewal project today in the automotive shop at the Kelowna Trades Complex.
Total cost of the project is $33 million, with Okanagan College raising $5 million. Construction preparation will begin immediately, with a projected completion date of spring 2016.
Last month, Okanagan College and government announced how more than $550,000 in one-time funding - http://bit.ly/HZ4EEn - will be used to offer skilled trades-related training in the region. The college expects to create 110 seats over the coming year, including training in mining, oil and gas-related supervision and safety, and green building design, among others.
Facilities at Okanagan College are being upgraded and modernized, thanks to over $570,000 in capital funding provided for the college this year to ensure campus infrastructure and operational systems are performing at optimal levels.
B.C. taxpayers are providing over $45 million for operations and student programs at Okanagan College for 2012-13, up from $25.1 million in 2005-06.
In addition, counting today's announcement, the B.C. government has made over $63 million in capital investments at Okanagan College since 2005, including construction of the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at the Penticton campus, and renovation and expansion of the trades facility at the Salmon Arm campus.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology -
"This exciting expansion and renovation project will provide a modern, spacious and energy- efficient space where students and instructors can be assured of a high-quality, rewarding training experience."
"As we build on the success of the BC Jobs Plan and launch B.C.'s Skills and Training Plan, we're investing in training and education to give learners the facilities, tools and programs they need to fill skilled jobs, raise families and contribute to the growth of their communities."
Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training -
"Across British Columbia we are seeing the results of hard work - increases in both the level of investment as well as the number of jobs. Now we are doubling down to ensure British Columbians have access to the trades training facilities that will give them the skills to compete, that will let our children find jobs in British Columbia."
Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission -
"Our investment in trades training at Okanagan College reflects the strength and potential of the economy in the Interior and throughout our province. The renewal of the Kelowna Trades Complex as part of B.C.'s Skills and Training Plan will ensure the college has the capacity it needs to provide training opportunities for the learners and workers who will sustain and build our region and province today, and into the future."
Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College -
"This $33-million project will provide much-needed revitalization and renewal for Okanagan College's Kelowna campus, creating additional capacity for students and apprentices in a building that will be a showcase for sustainability. Just as a decision 50 years ago to invest in trades training facilities here has had an immeasurable impact in this region, the decision to invest in developing this showcase for training will yield positive change and pride that can be shared by students, industry, the community, the college and government."
Patrick Waunch, head of Rambow Mechanical, chair of the B.C. Construction Association, and chair of the program advisory committee for the plumbing and HVAC department at Okanagan College -
"The Construction Sector Council is currently predicting a conservative shortfall of 20,000 skilled workers for British Columbia, after all B.C. sources of labour are tapped into, so enabling more seats for apprentices is absolutely essential if we want to keep B.C. building."
- The Kelowna Trades Complex renewal project will create a 6,264-square-metre expansion to the existing complex, and renovate 4,385 square metres of existing space.
- The expansion and renovation of the Heavy Duty/Commercial Transport Building will add 260 square metres of shop space and 306 square metres of storage and ancillary space, and include three 20-seat classrooms.
- The resulting consolidation of all trades training on the Kelowna campus will eliminate $245,000 in leasing costs for current leased facilities on Penno Road and Acland Road.
- The project will reduce operational costs by $220,000 when the goal of net-zero energy is achieved.
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology: http://www.gov.bc.ca/aved/index.html
Okanagan College: http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology