New private school to open at site of former Glenfir school in Summerland

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A new private school is coming to town in the south Okanagan.

The Unisus international junior kindergarten to grade 12 school plans to open its doors this September in Summerland.

“There needs to be something more forward thinking for the leaders of tomorrow,” said Cindy Leung, operations director for the new school.

The private school hopes to attract students from the Okanagan and abroad.

Annual tuition ranges from $11,000 for Kindergarten to $50,000 for international boarding students.

“We are actually the lowest of the boarding schools around B.C. in terms of the fees,” Leung said.

The school plans to build a new dining hall/common area and living quarters pending the approval of permit applications.

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“This area is where the dormitories will be so there will be three floors with 22 units per floor,” Leung said while giving Global News a tour of the property on Wednesday.

Unisus purchased the private property after it was vacated by the former Glenfir independent school.

Leung said the financial backers are mostly Canadian citizens with vested interests in educational opportunities for their children. She added there were some offshore investments.

The former Glenfir School, with 76 enrolled students at the time, shut down in 2011 due to declining enrollment and the state of the economy, according to the former head of school Craig Dunbar.

“Really the economic climate is what really got us,” Dunbar said at the time.

The former school was essentially abandoned with books, desks, plaques and trophies left behind.

Leung reassured prospective parents that there is no connection to the Glenfir school and the new educational institution will be different.

“There is some concern out there we can see, this is a brand new school,” Leung said. “I’m an accountant myself so really budgeting and funding and also at the same time knowing how to start up a school because I’ve done it before so all that comes into play, so I think people need to know that they have to have confidence in this.”

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The school is in the process of obtaining official certification to implement The International Baccalaureate (IB) program and the curriculum will focus on the principles of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).

Unisis is accepting application for the 2018/19 school year.