The province has announced funding for a planned new elementary school in West Kelowna and the expansion of an existing high school in Kelowna’s Mission area.
Victoria said Friday it will provide more than $28.5 million for construction of the new Mar Jok Elementary and the expansion of Okanagan Mission Secondary. Mar Jok Elementary is expected to cost about $15 million to build.
The new elementary school will help address district enrolment growth and crowding at three other area elementary schools by creating space for 460 students in kindergarten to Grade 6.
It will be a joint development with the City of West Kelowna and will include a community park, playing field and other neighbourhood learning centre elements. It will be located on McDougall Road in Rose Valley and will be named after an area pioneer of Chinese decent who once owned the land the school will sit on.
Like the new Mar Jok Elementary, Okanagan Mission Secondary is also located in an area with a growing school-aged population. The addition to that school will provide 300 new student spaces and a neighbourhood learning centre with upgraded drama room and related facilities for community use, said the Ministry of Education Friday.
“We are happy to be moving forward on these projects that will support our growing district, said The addition will open up much-needed space at Okanagan Mission Secondary while the new elementary school will ease enrolment pressures at the nearby Hudson Road, Shannon Lake and Rose Valley elementary schools.”
The Central Okanagan school district will consult with community partners in the coming months to determine the specific educational and community services that will be offered at both schools as part of their new neighbourhood learning centres.
Construction will begin in the spring of 2013 and both projects are expected to be complete by fall 2014. The projects are part of the $353-million capital plan announced by Premier Christy Clark in October 2011.
The Central Okanagan is the fifth-largest school district in the province and these and was expecting to have 21,500 student this year.
September student enrolment for the Central Okanagan school district has grown in each of the last five years. Since 2001, $84.3 million has been spent to complete 13 school construction projects here, including the replacement of Rutland Elementary and additions to Rutland Senior Secondary in Kelowna and Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary in West Kelonwa. The province also paid for construction of Chute Lake Elementary in the Mission three years ago.
More than $9.5 million has also spent in the last two years for additional full-day kindergarten space at several elementary schools across the district.