Steve Moores (left), dean of trades and apprenticeship program at Okanagan College, looks on as ceremonial sod turning for new Trades Training House is carried out by (from left) college president Jim Hamilton, MP Stephen Fuhr, carpentry student Eric Watson and MP Dan Albas.
— image credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press
The federal government will provide a $332,485 grant to create a Trades Training House facility at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College.
The funding was unveiled Wednesday morning by Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, who said the money is from a strategic investment fund commitment to spend $2 billion over the next three years for modernizing and building new education infrastructure projects across Canada.
Fuhr said some $25 million has been invested on Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan facilities since April 2016, including a $2.6 million upgrade of the trades training facility at the OC campus in Vernon.
The Trades Training House is an $876,000 project that will see a 2,700 square-foot build on the Kelowna campus to offer hands-on, practical training opportunities for sheet metal, carpentry, electrician and plumbing students.
The interior structure will continuously change, reflecting the cycles of training in an academic year along with serving as a research tool for new building technologies and techniques developed in partnership with the local construction industry.
It is expected more than 300 students will train in the facility each year.
The project will also incorporate the latest green building technologies, techniques and materials, including an extensive solar photovoltic array on the roof to capture energy and a system for collecting and reusing rainwater.
Eric Watson, a first-year carpentry student, said the practical knowledge gained from applying trades skills to a training house will be invaluable both to students being familiar with an actual construction job site, and for employers who can benefit from that experience acquired for entry level workers.
“The knowledge will will gain from this will help us all so, so much,” Watson said.
Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College, touted both the simulated job site experience benefits and the opportunity to work with local employers on research projects concerning new construction techniques.
“The connection to industry through our programs is the core of what we do here at Okanagan College,” Hamilton said.
The construction of the Trades Training House facility is expected to be completed before the end of September, adjacent to the new Kelowna campus trades training complex.