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Wilden Middle School tops Central Okanagan wishlist

Capital plan update also sees shift to new addition for Rutland Middle

A new middle school in the Wilden area is the proposed new school capital funding priority for Central Okanagan Public Schools.

Filling out the other two capital spending priorities are a new elementary school at Smith Creek in West Kelowna and a new middle school in the UBC Okanagan area.

The updated Five-Year Capital Plan schedule will be up for discussion by the planning and facilities committee on Wednesday, with its recommendations to be forwarded to the board of education.

The other top capital plan priorities are school addition, Rutland Middle; site acquisition, UBCO area middle school; and school replacement, École Glenmore Elementary.

Kevin Kaardal, Central Okanagan Public Schools superintendent/CEO, said the Five-Year Capital Plan has been updated in the wake of the construction of a second Westside secondary school now underway, and funding for a concept design process approved for a new Glenmore secondary on a school district owned site near the Apple Bowl.

Kaardal said the updated capital spending wishlist is a reflection of growing enrolment issues across the school district challenging the capacities of several existing schools.

He added the classification change for Rutland Middle, which has for many years topped the school replacement priority list, is a reflection of ministry of education and childcare funding priorities.

“The ministry places a higher priority on replacing schools dealing with enrolment growth and replacing the need for portables and based on our conversations with ministry staff we believe we have a better chance for funding with a school addition,” said Kaardal.

He noted land acquisition to build a replacement school in Rutland has also posed challenges.

He said while there are some interesting assets about Rutland Middle, such as its larger classrooms and great labs, the building upgrade would include an increase to the building capacity for safe, accessible and modern learning spaces; update the building envelope, including a mechanical system upgrade to improve energy efficiency; improve overall building accessibility; and remove the need for portables.

Kaardal added École Glenmore Elementary faces many of the same challenges as RMS does have reliance on portables, aging buildings and design limitations.

The planning and facilities committee meeting was held on Wednesday, June 7.

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Barry Gerding

About the Author: Barry Gerding

Senior regional reporter for Black Press Media in the Okanagan. I have been a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field for 37 years...
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