Education Minister Peter Fassbender joined officials from the Central Okanagan school district today as they toured the construction sites of a new elementary school and secondary school addition scheduled to welcome students next fall.
First on the agenda in the morning was a visit to the site of the future Mar Jok Elementary in West Kelowna. When completed, the $13.5-million school will have capacity for 460 K-6 students. A 500-square metre Neighbourhood Learning Centre will increase the size of the gym to provide space for a variety of community programming. Through a joint development agreement with the District of West Kelowna, the site will include a community park and playfield.
In the afternoon, the group made their way across the William R. Bennett Bridge and were joined by Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson to tour the site of an addition to Okanagan Mission Secondary. The new $15-million addition will add 300 student spaces, increasing the school's capacity from 750 students to 1,050, as well as space for a Neighbourhood Learning Centre. A nine-classroom temporary annex building will no longer be needed after construction is complete. Instead it will be repurposed to temporarily house Grade 7 students as a way to alleviate enrolment pressures on local elementary schools.
Both projects are still in the early stages of construction with the foundations laid and additional concrete work taking place on a daily basis. The projects are being designed to follow the BC Wood First Act.
Mar Jok and Okanagan Mission are part of the $353-million capital plan announced by Premier Christy Clark in October 2011.
Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-
"We're working to create modern and welcoming learning environments that help develop the potential of all students. Through their Neighbourhood Learning Centres and other community spaces, these two projects will play vital roles in the neighbourhood."
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
"It was fantastic to tour these sites today in beautiful Kelowna. Construction is well underway and we're on track to have 760 new student spaces available for the start of school next September."
Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission -
"Kelowna is one of the best places in the province to raise a young family and it's wonderful to see investments being made in our school infrastructure. These new spaces are going to support generations of local students and I look forward to seeing the doors officially open next fall."
Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country -
"The Mar Jok and Okanagan Mission projects are seeing over $28-million being invested in these two schools, in our families, and in the future of British Columbia. As a part of the $353-million capital plan, this construction will not only provide safe, modern space for students and staff, but the playfields and Neighbourhood Learning Centres being added will turn these schools into multi-purpose hubs that all families can enjoy."
Moyra Baxter, Central Okanagan board chair -
"We're really pleased the Education minister was able to visit us in Kelowna today and get a pulse of the two school capital projects being built in our district. Next fall is going to be a really exciting time for students and staff of these schools and we hope the minister is able to come back and see the finished products."
- The new elementary school in West Kelowna is named after Mar Jok, a local pioneer, businessman and volunteer who once owned the land on which the school is being built.
- The plan to transition Grade 7 students to Okanagan Mission's annex building is an interim solution until a future grades 6-to-8 middle school can be funded in the area.
- Since 2001, the government of B.C. has invested $84.3 million in the Central Okanagan school district to complete 13 construction projects, including the replacement of Rutland Elementary, additions to Rutland Senior Secondary and Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary and the new Chute Lake Elementary school. In addition, more than $9.5 million has been invested for additional space for full-day kindergarten.
- Since 2001, government has spent more than $2.5 billion to complete capital projects including 99 new and replacement schools, 151 additions, 27 renovations and 26 site acquisitions throughout B.C.
- Since 2001, government has committed more than $4.1 billion on school capital and maintenance projects throughout the province.
BC's Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education