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Relief on the way to address student overcrowding in Kelowna’s Glenmore area

A major addition to Dr.Knox Middle School will eliminate the need for portables on site. Global News

The B.C. provincial government has announced support for two major capital projects in the Central Okanagan school district, which will alleviate student overcrowding in a rapidly growing area of Kelowna.

The province announced the support as part of its 2021/2022 budget, which paves the way for a new elementary school in the Glenmore area, as well as a major addition to an existing middle school.

Read more: ‘We are losing time’; need for new high school in Kelowna becoming more urgent

According to Central Okanagan Public Schools, Glenmore is experiencing significant capacity issues. It stated that more than 15 per cent of its students are in portables.

One of the projects involves École Dr. Knox Middle School.

The school is currently at 115-per cent capacity.

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As a result, it has seven portables on site with an additional two more being added this summer.

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Provincial support will allow a major addition to be added to the school, which will eliminate all of the portables.

The project is expected to cost more than $20 million and the district is developing the final project plan to secure final Treasury Board approval.

The school addition should be completed by September 2023.

The other capital project that will ease student overcrowding in Glenmore involves the creation of a new elementary school.

The district has now secured land for Wilden Elementary School at Union Road at the north end of the Wilden subdivision.

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With government approval, the district can now proceed with the purchase of that land.

Read more: Central Okanagan population growth has schools bursting at the seams: survey

The provincial government will then have to approve the actual construction of the building.

Currently, elementary schools in Glenmore are operating at 130-per cent capacity and will have 13 portables by the beginning of the new school year.

“The Board of Education is very pleased to see support from the Provincial Government on these urgent priorities,” said board chairperson, Moyra Baxter.

“The Board of Education continues to advocate for our other priority projects such as Rutland Middle School and Glenmore Secondary where we have a plan, suitable locations and just need the government’s support to move forward.”

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