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B.C. comes up with funding for West Kelowna high school

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West Kelowna is finally going to get a new high school, though the province said it could be a couple of years later than it was initially expected.

The province announced Monday that it was coming through with $102.7 million in funding for the 1,200-seat secondary school in West Kelowna, set to be built on the current George Pringle Elementary school site and opened in 2027. Central Okanagan Public Schools will put in $3 million.

“This new school will address the significant capacity issues and the increasing number of portables at Mount Boucherie Secondary school,” Moyra Baxter, chair of the Central Okanagan board of education said in a press release.

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“The entire community looks forward to providing input on how the new school can meet the needs of our students as well as serving as a community hub.”

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The school will include a neighbourhood learning centre that can be used for community programs, such as child care, Indigenous or cultural services, and children and family resources.

It will also be built with enhanced greenhouse gas reduction strategies, which will be achieved through high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems. Future climate impacts will also be kept in mind as it will incorporate non-combustible materials in construction.

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With funding approved, the new school is expected to be ready for students earlier than the 2027 date announced. In previous discussions announcements, they said it would be up by September 2025 and now they’re eying 2026.

The Minister of Education said, “as owners of their facilities, individual school districts are responsible for managing major construction projects like new schools.”

“Ministry staff worked closely with the Central Okanagan School District to determine the approved timeline for the construction of the new school,” the Ministry said in an emailed statement.

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“Our expectation is that the new West Kelowna secondary school will be completed by September 2027, a timeline that has been approved by government and is comparable to other secondary school construction projects in B.C. However, the school district may, through design, consultation, procurement and construction, create opportunities to reduce the overall project delivery schedule.”

As a sign of how motivated the district is to get the building done before that date, a staff member said they were meeting with architects today to get the project underway.

It will be the first new secondary school to open in the Central Okanagan School District since 2002 when Kelowna Secondary school was replaced.

The current George Pringle Elementary school is expected to be demolished after this school year. Current students will be moved to nearby schools, including Webber Road Elementary, which will reopen to students in September 2022.

With the elementary school set to go down, the student population may be split over three schools.

 

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