While the district is still waiting for approval on a number of enhancement projects at local schools, Okanagan Landing Elementary has had a complete upgrade to its mechanical system.
The $1,440,000 project was approved by the Ministry of Education through its School Enhancement Program (SEP) funds which help school districts repair, upgrade and improve facilities and extend the life of their schools.
District secretary-treasurer Sterling Olson said the initial SEP call for projects was March 15.
The ministry announced its approvals in May for projects that could be completed by March 31, 2017.
“It’s a program that the ministry implemented in the recent past that provides some extra money to school districts to do some capital improvements,” said Olson.
“We were successful in getting the Okanagan Landing project done and it’s really director of facilities Jerry Westby and his crew that worked with our consultants to pull together all the information to be able to submit the applications and to structure them in such a way that we get these approved.”
In its submission, the district submitted funding requests for roof replacements at Fulton and Okanagan Landing schools and dust extractors at W.L. Seaton and Kalamalka secondary schools, but none of the projects were approved.
“Since then the ministry has done a supplementary call for submissions,” said Olson, in reference to the additional $20 million in SEP funds announced by the ministry Aug. 31, building on the initial $45 million funding allocation.
Still awaiting approval are projects submitted Sept. 15, and also to be completed by March 31: water enhancements at 12 schools, with a budget of $117,500; and dust extractors at Seaton, Kal, Fulton and in the district’s maintenance shop.
“Most people have heard and seen that districts across this province have lead in water issues — we’re working to address that. One of the things that we’re hoping to do is to get some money from the province to replace a number of different fixtures, so that’s what this is,” said Olson.
“In addition I’m sure it would be nice to get some money for some of our sawdust extractors in some of our schools and wood shops because they continue to be a safety concern for the district.”