The new and upgrade school funding needs for Central Okanagan Public Schools got a little smaller this week.
As enrolment is spiking across the Central Okanagan School District creating the need for new schools and expansion of existing ones, the Ministry of Education confirmed a land acquisition deal has been finalized for a new school in Kelowna’s Wilden community.
The ministry will provide $1.9 million to buy the site, with the school district to contribute $5.5 million.
With the property acquired, the next challenge will be to secure ministry funding to build the new elementary school.
“Students and families want and deserve schools near their homes, and this new site ensures the land is in place to build a school that can serve families in Wilden for generations,” said Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside.
“As Kelowna continues to grow, we will be working with the school board to make sure we can provide all students with the best learning experience possible in schools that support their development and their success.”
That commitment offers its challenges as Central Okanagan schools are in many instances bursting at the seams for the secondary, middle and elementary levels.
The school board opted to repurpose the Ecole George Pringle school site for a new Westside secondary still awaiting funding approval from the ministry, while a new secondary school for the Glenmore area tops a lengthy list of priorities in the school district’s five-year capital plan.
“We appreciate that the ministry has approved the purchase of this site,” said Moyra Baxter, Central Okanagan Board of Education chair.
“As a growing district, we need to be able to plan for the future. We look forward to continuing to work with the government to meet our capital needs.”
In Lake Country, the new H.S. Grenda Middle School will open in September, a $40-million project that will add 600 new spaces to the school district’s classroom inventory.
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