Central School’s 100-year-old windows have been restored to their original state and the work of the Central Okanagan School Board to make it happen has been recognized with a B.C. Heritage Award.
Almost 100 windows were restored at the historic school, which opened in 1914 and remains in use today by the Central Okanagan School Board, and features a restored class-room that is home to many unique remnants of the early operation of the school.
Replacing the windows, many of which remained in excellent condition despite being 100 years old, was an extensive, $450,000 project funded through the school board’s annual facilities grant for upgrades to school buildings.
“It was quite an undertaking and a huge amount of money but we decided we really should do it properly,” said board chair Moyra Baxter. “There are not many real heritage buildings left in this state because a lot of them just get knocked down.”
The replacement of the windows came on the heels of re-pointing the brick on the outside of the Central School, a building actually owned by the City of Kelowna and held in trust by the school district. The two projects, done in the past two years at the school, drew raves from heritage proponents.
“We are thrilled with what School District 23 has done with this building,” said Janice Henry, the president of Heritage BC and also the executive director of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society. “We wanted to hold this up as an example of other heritage conservation projects we are hoping can get done in the City of Kelowna. We’d like to thank the school board for taking the extra steps to properly preserve this building.”
As part of the project, 96 original windows were removed and sent to Vancouver Island to be restored. Lead paint was removed from the window frames and the hardware surrounding the windows was also replaced before the new windows were installed.
“It was essential to to do something to replace the windows,” said project manager Ken Kovacs, himself a student at the Central School in the 1970s. “If we failed to do something now they would fail. It was a very interesting project. It’s very rare to have these types of buildings in the Okanagan.”
The award was made during BC Heritage Week which takes place Feb. 16 to 22. In Kelowna you can view many more heritage displays this week, inside the Royal Anne Hotel on Bernard Ave.