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Breaking ground on new private high school construction

Christopher  Grieve, Aberdeen Hall head of school, stands on the site for the new high school on the Aberdeen campus above UBC Okanagan. Jennifer Smith/Capital News  - Jennifer Smith/Capital News
Christopher Grieve, Aberdeen Hall head of school, stands on the site for the new high school on the Aberdeen campus above UBC Okanagan. Jennifer Smith/Capital News
— image credit: Jennifer Smith/Capital News

Despite the recent closure of The Glenfir School in Summerland, Kelowna’s Aberdeen Hall is growing so much its administrators say it needs a new building after only seven years in operation.

The campus, just north of the University of British Columbia Okanagan, already has a large, semi-permanent sports tent with two gymnasium’s worth of space, basketball courts and a main building housing programs from preschool through Grade 9.

This weekend, they break ground on the next phase of development—the high school.

“We’re a university prep school, so the master vision was always to have a high school. This particular building came quite quickly because our growth has been so significant,” said head of school Christopher Grieve.

The school has grown by an average of 22 per cent each of the last five years and now includes 260 students.

In September, it will add a high school program, beginning with Grade 10 which, with their scholarship program, is not out of reach for local families, Grieve said.

Asked why the school is growing while Glenfir could no longer afford to keep its doors open, the head of school attributed it to that age old real estate adage—location, location, location.

“Summerland was challenged by its location. They just didn’t have the critical mass,” he said.

“Some of the Glenfir students have come here and we were able to pick up their best teacher.”

Aberdeen Hall offers a liberal arts education and characterizes itself as university prep in the tradition of the British prep school. There is no religious component.

“There isn’t a really big independent school tradition in the valley,” Grieves said. “So we’re sort of building that as well.”

Posted on the foyer of the current building is a five-phase build-out plan which shows a larger high school is planned along with a permanent gymnasium, with a green roof the students can walk onto.

“We’re focused on creating a bridge to university, both UBC and top universities across the country and abroad,” said Grieve.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

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