Wearing a hard hat, Oakley sunglasses and a reflective vest over a grey suit and tie, Education Minister Peter Fassbender walked through the construction site of Mar Jok Elementary in West Kelowna Tuesday morning.
He was joined by School District 23 board members and representatives from Sawchuck Developments Co. Ltd., the company responsible for construction of West Kelowna’s newest elementary school.
The $13.5 million school—located at the corner of Rosewood Drive and McDougall Road—is expected to open in September 2014. It will take growing pressure off Rose Valley Elementary, Hudson Road Elementary and Shannon Lake Elementary schools.
“This school will help us address an overcrowding issue…and will relieve a great deal of pressure,” said School District 23 Superintendent Hugh Gloster.
Fassbender seemed please with the project, which is currently on schedule and on budget.
“To see the development and to see the changes is phenomenal,” said Fassbender.
The new elementary school—named after a Chinese-Canadian pioneer, Jok Mar, who once owned the land the school will sit on—is being built to a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold standard. It will also comply with the province’s wood first initiative.
“We’re utilizing heavy timber glulam beams for the roof structure,” said project manager John-Erik Grain, adding the interior will be finished with birch.
Construction workers have been working seven days a week to ensure the project stays on schedule, but Grain noted there have been very few noise complaints received by nearby houses.
“I think the property value will go up in a slumping market, so it’s a great project for this area.”
Through a joint development agreement with the District of West Kelowna, the site will also include a neighbourhood learning centre with multi-purpose space for community programming and Rosewood Sports Field: The first full-size soccer pitch in West Kelowna’s north end.
Fassbender noted the cooperation between West Kelowna and School District 23 is resulting in “a great additional to the whole community.”
The education minister also toured the site of an addition to Okanagan Mission Secondary Tuesday afternoon, which will increase the school’s capacity from 750 to 1,050 students.