A proposal to build a new secondary school in West Kelowna will be reviewed by the Central Okanagan Public Schools Board of Education at a public board meeting on May 26.
The school board said that it’s urgent that the proposal moves forward, as Mount Boucherie Secondary School (MBSS) is expected to be at 126 per cent capacity in five years with 17 portable classrooms and “cannot be expanded further.”
“Any delays in approval may cause provincial funding to be revoked or redirected by the Ministry of Education,” said the school board. “Also other vital projects in the Central Okanagan such as a new Glenmore Secondary and Wilden Elementary may be delayed.”
According to the school board, MBSS is currently at overcapacity with 11 portable classrooms and only has a parking variance from the City of West Kelowna to add an additional two portables, which can only provide enough space until September 2023.
The school board said that their only solution in securing a site for the potential school is to reopen Webber Road Elementary School and repurpose École George Pringle Elementary as the site for the proposed secondary school.
If approved, the plan is to have the new school in service for September 2025.
“Left with only a single feasible solution after years of comprehensive investigation, the board is faced with an incredibly difficult situation as it strives to ensure that it has the space to serve our students on the westside,” said board chairperson Moyra Baxter.
Included in the proposal is a motion to relocate École George Pringle Elementary School’s English program to the Webber Road Elementary School, while their French immersion program moves to Glenrosa Elementary School and/or Hudson Road Elementary School in September 2022.
Approval of the proposal would result in students who currently walk to École George Pringle Elementary requiring transportation services in the future, while all students enrolled in the English program would also be eligible for transportation.
“As a board, we are committed to ensuring that the students and families of École George Pringle Elementary School will be well supported if the decision is to proceed with this plan,” said Baxter.
Talks between the board of launching another secondary school in West Kelowna dates back to 2015. In 2019, provincial approval for a new school was received and the school board has been looking for a suitable site since.
The site of the Webber Road Community Centre was considered, but the school board said that they couldn’t proceed due to significant challenges with location, topography, and the designated archaeological historical site where the school would be built.