The Board of Education recently approved the sale of Central Okanagan Public Schools’ property located at 580 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. The McWilliams Centre currently comprises staff and teaching resource spaces for the District’s K-12 online education program, eSchool23, and does not contain student spaces or classrooms. The property is suitable for an administration building but is not large enough to accommodate construction of a school.
The site will be purchased by UBC Properties Trust on behalf of UBC Okanagan, which has already invested in the UBCO Downtown building at 550 Doyle Avenue, immediately adjacent to the McWilliams Centre.
“This sale allows our district to focus on priorities of sustainability and providing 21st-century learning opportunities without interruptions to services or loss of classroom space,” said Lee-Ann Tiede, Chairperson for the Board of Education. “The agreement will allow for this property to continue to support education services in the future with our community partner UBCO.”
“The sale of the property will help the District fund renovations to the existing Hollywood Road Education Services (HRES) to improve building efficiency, enhance services to online learners, and accommodate the online learning program’s staff, while continuing to access the space at Doyle Avenue until the renovations are complete,” said Delta Carmichael, Secretary-Treasurer/CFO for Central Okanagan Public Schools.
With construction on UBCO Downtown at 550 Doyle Avenue expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023, the University says the McWilliams Centre site is ideally located as a long-term investment to help service the needs of its new downtown presence. UBCO also says there are no immediate plans to develop the site given that the District is set to lease the space until renovations at HRES are complete.
“This land acquisition offers UBC the opportunity to remain responsive in the years ahead to the evolving needs of the community regarding academic programming and services in downtown Kelowna,” says Lesley Cormack, Principal and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for UBC’s Okanagan campus. “We are pleased to be able to help Central Okanagan Public Schools pursue its priorities for other locations while maintaining this site’s existing use as a place for education in the heart of the community.”
“This is an important investment by UBC in its presence in the Okanagan and proof positive of the tremendous potential we see in UBCO Downtown.”