Completion of the new administrative office for Central Okanagan Public Schools was initially targeted for this summer but has been moved back to February 2018. Photo credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

New Central Okanagan school district office behind schedule

New building now expected to be completed by February 2018

Central Okanagan School District staff won’t be moving into their new administrative headquarters until next year.

Larry Paul, secretary-treasurer of Central Okanagan Public Schools, said the original move from the current Underhill Street location across from Orchard Park Mall to the new site beside the Hollywood Road Education Centre in Rutland was targeted for August.

But due to labour shortages in the local construction industry, the project has been set back to February for completion.

“Our hope is to start moving furnishings into the building in February and complete the staff switchover by spring break,” Paul said.

“We knew from the start it was a pretty aggressive construction schedule, and with there being definitely more trades jobs available than people to fill them right now, we could see having to back up the move-in date more in line now with what we were probably expecting anyway.”

Related: New office building for school district

Paul said the delay doesn’t impact the school district financially, saying the building contract was tendered at a fixed price under the somewhat unique land swap arrangement.

The Kelowna developer behind the project, K West Equities Corp., is building the new school board office in exchange for acquiring the current school district administrative building property, likely earmarked for future commercial development.

Consolidating the Hollywood Education Centre and administrative centre on one site will create a better communication synergy between staff in the two locations, Paul says.

“I know for myself I usually have to go over to (the Hollywood Education Centre) four or five times a week so instead of having to drive over there all the time, we’ll be able to walk next door,” Paul said.

Paul himself won’t see that benefit as he leaves at the end of December for the Alberta community of Airdrie to take on a new position with the local school district.

The current school board office houses a staff of 50 people in the 9,500 sq.ft. building with eight of those people working in a portable office. The new building will be double the administrative office size to 125,000 sq.ft.

The new structure will support B.C.’s Wood First Initiative and will be energy efficient to a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standard.

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