June 28, 2013 - 11:17 AM
Overcrowded Kelowna grade school students will be getting a bit more room to grow. The B.C. government is spending just over $8.7 million on a much needed expansion of Okanagan Mission Secondary School and School District 23 announced Wednesday construction on the project will begin right away.
There are two incentives for the expansion: giving the existing secondary school students a better school with a second gym and new theatre, and giving Grade 7 students currently attending elementary school the space to join a more mature program.
Board of Education chairperson Moyra Baxter says the expansion will free up space in the Mission secondary school's portables. Baxter says a pod of connected portables will serve as a "school within a school" for Grades 7 and 8.
"We have two areas where we still have Grade 7s in elementary schools," Baxter says, in Lake Country and the Mission. It's not just an issue of overcrowding, but finding an age-appropriate environment for the students
"We want to get those students into a middle school climate," she says. At the secondary school they will have access to more specialized programs and equipment they wouldn't otherwise be able to use.
But students will have to be patient. Not until September 2014 can they make the switch, once construction on the expansion is complete.
Further down the road the school board hopes to get two new middle schools built in Lake Country, on the Aspen Grove golf course, and in the Ponds neighborhood in the Mission.
It will be a lengthy process, Baxter says, and their first priority is to get the zoning approved and an Agricultural Land Reserve exemption in Lake Country before applying for government money.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at email@example.com or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013