Education Minister Peter Fassbender (left) tours the construction site of the $15 million expansion of Okanagan Mission Secondary School with Ken Kovacs

Education minister tours Okanagan Mission Secondary construction

Kelowna-area high school getting 16 new classrooms, a second gym and renovations inside the existing building at a cost of $15 million.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender got a close up look at what $15 million buys in Kelowna in terms of school expansion.

Fassbender was taken on a tour of the construction at Okanagan Mission Secondary School Tuesday. The school is getting an additional 16 new classrooms, a second full-sized gymnasium, and expanded drama department area, and improvements to more than 1,000-square-metres of existing space inside the school.

The construction is expected to be complete by September 2014  and will crarte space for an additional 200 students.

The school will need it as it will take in an estimated 300 Grade 7 students next year as the Central Okanagan School District reconfigure the middle and high school grades in the Mission area to accommodate growth until a new middle school can be built in the Ponds area of the Upper Mission. But that won’t happen for several years, say school district officials.

The Grade 7 students atOKM will be housed in a large 10-room portable classroom complex that the school district has dubbed “Portable City.” It is currently in use at the school and has 10 classrooms all connected through a central structure.

The school district is also planning to create a second, smaller portable city for use at George Elliott Secondary in Lake Country, where a similar grade reconfiguration will take place.

The new portables for Lake COuntryare coming from the south Okanagan where they were used prior to the Oliver high school being rebuilt after fire destroyed it a few years ago. The Central Okanagan School District got the new portables for free.

OKM currently has 1,068 students and principal Leanne Zorn said that number is expected to rise by nearly 300 next year.


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