The province and the Central Okanagan School District are putting up a total of $36.1 million for a new middle school in southeast Kelowna.
Funding for Okanagan Mission Junior Middle school was announced Friday and will be built at 1211 Frost Road in the fast growing neighbourhood of Kelowna.
“This is good news for the district and for Okanagan Mission families.,” said board of education Chairwoman Moyra Baxter.
Th province is putting up $35.1 million of the cost, with the school district contributing the other $1 million.
The district bought the land for a middle school site in 2013 for $2.05 million, anticipating the need to accommodate the growing number of students living in the area.
The new school will support the district’s plan to move towards a consistent grade configuration throughout the District, said Baxter.
The new three-story school will provide 750 new student spaces for Grade 6 to 8 students and include a Neighbourhood Learning Centre.
It will be the first middle school built in southeast Kelowna.
The Grades 6 to 8 that are here right now, we actually already have 750 kids that will go to that school when it’s built,” said school secretary-treasurer Larry Paul. “It will help relieve the pressure of the three elementary schools and one middle school in the area.”
The current Grade configuration in Kelowna’s southeast is currently kindergarten to Grade 6 and Grade 7 to 12, but that will change as the district moves forward with the middle school.
“It’s a goal of a common grade configuration throughout the district and we’re slowly moving to that,” said Paul. “We’ve already moved Rutland and this will be the second area.”
The new school will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards. The interior is expected to include a great deal of natural light, and open and collaborative learning spaces to support B.C.’s new curriculum.
This school will also helping ensure apprentices get a chance to learn the trades, as it will be built under B.C.’s Apprentices on Public Projects Policy, part of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. The province says this is one way Victoria is helping ensure more people in B.C. get connected with skills-training and apprenticeship opportunities.