With the final phase of the $15-million Okanagan Mission Secondary school expansion now complete, students are kicking-off the new school year in an environmentally friendly and updated school.
MLA for Kelowna-Mission, Steve Thomson was joined by Central Okanagan school district trustees and staff, teachers, parents and students at the school to celebrate the official completion of the project and tour the expansion on behalf of Education Minister Mike Bernier.
“The 300 seats added at Okanagan Mission Secondary are supporting our growing school-aged population,” Thomson said in a press release, “and providing students with an updated, collaborative and environmentally-friendly space to learn.
“I am pleased that students are already performing, practicing, playing and learning in their new classrooms, the gym and the drama space. All students and many community members will enjoy these great spaces for years to come. “
Completed in 2014, the first phase of the project added a new wing with 11 classrooms and a full-size gym, creating 300 new student spaces to increase the school’s capacity to 1,050. The new wing also features open learning spaces to support B.C.’s new curriculum, including a central space where students can work collaboratively on projects.
“The Central Okanagan Board of Education is thrilled with the new space at the school and the opportunities it provides for students to work collaboratively,” said School District 23 board chair Moyra Baxter. “We wish to thank the Ministry of Education, the local MLAs, and our own staff who have brought this project to completion,” said in the same press release. “We also appreciate the staff and students at Okanagan Mission who have lived through some disruption during the expansion, but we know they will agree that it’s been worth it.”
The first phase also brought a new performance space to the school, complete with a stage lighting system that is safe for the school’s many theatre students to operate. As part of an agreement between the Central Okanagan school district and the City of Kelowna, the school’s theatre space, dance studio, gym and fitness centre are being used for community recreational programs outside of school hours.
The project was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold standards. The latest geo-thermal technology is used to heat and cool the new wing, and it is equipped with LED lighting and a networked building automation system. All of these features are reducing the school’s energy use and saving money.
The second phase of the project included a renovating the administrative offices and counselling area. The third and final phase, completed this summer, put the finishing touches on the school, updated the foyer and added a striking new front entrance to the school.
This project moved students out of the school’s nine portable annex into classrooms. The portable annex is now being used to temporarily house grade 7 students as a way to alleviate local elementary school enrolment pressures.
Government is able to make capital investments like the Okanagan Mission Secondary school expansion project thanks to the Province’s fiscal discipline and strong economy.