New Westside high school now ahead of Kelowna on school board wish list | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New Westside high school now ahead of Kelowna on school board wish list

A replacement for Rutland Middle School is one of the capital requests the Central Okanagan school district is making to the Ministry of Education.
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September 05, 2018 - 11:37 AM

CENTRAL OKANAGAN - Steady growth has pushed a new Westside high school to the top of the new school wish list for the Central Okanagan School District.

In its recently updated five-year capital plan, the school district now wants to spend $14 million for a site and another $68-million for a new 1,100-seat high school in West Kelowna, ahead of a new high school for Kelowna.

Until recently, plans were to build a new similarly-priced high school on the site of the former Dr. Knox middle school beside the Apple Bowl and not far from Parkinson Recreation Centre.

That plan now sits behind the Westside capital request as a priority, schools superintendent Kevin Kaardal said, although they both sit behind a $37 milllion replacement for Rutland middle school.

“The Rutland middle school replacement is the board’s top priority but Westside growth is also creating demand,” Kaardal said. “Growth is creating the need. We’re not quite reaching capacity yet, but we’re darn close.”

While all three projects, plus another $35 million worth of additions to existing schools, are listed under the 2019-2020 school year, the superintendent cautioned they are by no means certain and are subject to Treasury Board approval.

“There’s nothing beyond the conceptual stage, just letting the ministry know there’s a need, but also knowing there’s need across the province. Hopefully within the next five or six years we will announce a new high school for over there."

Prelimary enrollment numbers for 2018-2019 show an increase of 200 to 300 students, Kaardal said, “or about the equivalent of a small elementary school.”

The district should see about 22,500 students this year but won’t be able to confirm the number until the end of September.

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