Dennis Gabelhouse (left)

Okanagan College gears up for trades training complex

High profile supporters become involved in Kelowna campus trades training campaign team.

  • Sep. 29, 2013 7:00 a.m.

Three enthusiastic supporters of both the trades and Okanagan College have offered to head up the campaign team to raise funds for the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus.

Ben Stewart, Dennis Gabelhouse and Mike Roberts will be front and centre as Okanagan College ramps up its efforts to raise $7 million towards the new $33-million Trades Training Complex to be located on KLO Road.

Stewart, who was the Westside-Kelowna MLA from 2009 until this spring, is taking on the role of Honorary Chair. Gabelhouse, who has a lengthy background in media and marketing – most recently at Global Okanagan – will be the Campaign Chair, while Roberts, a retired veteran broadcaster and Okanagan College Honorary Fellow, has signed on as Campaign Ambassador.

“We are fortunate to have the support of these important members of our community as we embark on this campaign,” said Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. “All three are longtime friends of the College and each has contributed to the success of this institution or our community in a meaningful way. Their commitment to the goals of the campaign is admirable and I am confident that commitment and enthusiasm will do much to serve the thousands of students who will benefit from our new Trades Training Complex.”

Alf Kempf, president of the Okanagan College Foundation, said he’s excited that the campaign has generated such strong volunteer leadership.

“This is a stellar team with a clear vision for the instrumental role that skilled trades will play in the future needs of B.C.,” Kempf said. “I’m confident that these three can do anything they set their minds to.”

The campaign goal is to raise $5 million towards the capital costs of the project, plus another $2 million for programming and student support. The provincial government has contributed $28-million to fund the project.

“This is an important project for the entire region,” said Stewart, who founded Quail’s Gate Estate Winery and appreciates the trades from a worker’s perspective having taken night courses at the College in arc-welding, oxy-acetylene gas welding, and construction. “We are in an unprecedented situation in B.C. in terms of the skills shortage and we know that workers will be needed throughout the province to address many of the initiatives the province is undertaking – from oil and gas to shipbuilding.”

Gabelhouse said this new facility will be the largest trades training centre between the Lower Mainland and Calgary, and will act as a beacon for many young people to enter the trades.

“This innovative and environmentally sustainable facility will help to elevate the perception of the trades and reinforce the important role Okanagan College graduates play in establishing a robust economy that will secure B.C.’s future,” Gabelhouse said.

Roberts, who has lent his support to many successful community initiatives, said he can’t wait to get started.

“It’s easy for me to endorse what the College is doing and I’m pleased to assist in any way I can,” he said.

The Trades Training Complex will provide space for more than 2,400 full-time trades and apprenticeship students. The complex is being designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards, and includes a 5,900 square metre expansion, along with a complete renovation and retrofit of another 4,400 square metres.

 

The project broke ground in September 2012 and is expected to be complete by Spring 2016.

 

Just Posted

Okanagan Lake levels stay steady but snowpack is growing: officials

Whether or not the tributaries and creeks flood depends on how suddenly the snowpack begins to melt,

Kelowna council approves rental housing project

Plan for former packinghouse site calls for 148 rental units

Kelowna crew knocks down attic fire in Rutland

No one home at the time as Kelowna Fire Department extinguishes small blaze on Cactus Road

Okanagan realtors add voices to anti-speculation tax coalition

This speculation tax is likely to harm the very people the government is trying to protect

Bolt cutters and bear spray used in Kelowna break-in

“Both suspects were taken into police custody…”

Sunshine and above-average temperatures all week

We can expect to enjoy this warm sunshine all week long

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Penticton robbery trial starts days before accused’s murder trial

Narcotics, cash stolen from pharmacy; accused scheduled for murder trial next week in Abbotsford

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

Toronto songstress shares indie vibes with Okanagan

Emma Cook will rock Penticton’s The Elite April 28 before she hits Vernon’s Record City April 29

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Student produces gun at Princeton Secondary School

Starter pistol confiscated, RCMP are investigating

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Most Read