Kelowna Trades Complex Opens

trades banner cutting 715From top to bottom the new $35 million Trades Complex celebrates Okanagan College’s rich history of trades training and honours the men and women who build our communities. It is also unquestionably a building for the future – a bold embodiment of the College’s commitment to pushing the envelope in sustainability and green building technology.

“We set out to build a leading-edge facility that would truly celebrate the trades,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Support from the province, industry and the community has been integral in making the new Trades Complex a reality."

“Tradespeople play an incredibly important role in our communities, and we are very proud to be able to provide them with a new inspiring learning environment – one that we are confident will be of tremendous benefit to the region and the province.”

Building on a $28-million investment by the province, the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills campaign launched in October 2014 with the goal of raising $7 million for capital construction and student support. Donations have poured in from businesses, families, and individuals – including numerous gifts from within the College’s internal community. A $100,000 donation from the Okanagan College Students’ Union in February 2015 sparked interest and illustrated the value the College’s own students place on their education.

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Current students and alumni also played a hands-on role in the project.

Madison Roukema, a recent graduate of the Sheet Metal foundation program and of the Women in Trades Training (WITT) program, was one of the more than a dozen students who installed equipment into the Cross Connection Control Lab and Gas Training Lab, a space which will also allow the College to deliver a new Steamfitter/Pipefitter apprenticeship.

“It was such an awesome opportunity to get to work on the building as a student,” says Roukema. “There were students from different trades, different classes, and we all had a chance to put our skills to work. It was a way of being part of the project, part of the future of the Trades at the College.”

“It was a great experience.”

When doors opened to students in April, more than 700 students training at leased shops on Penno and Acland Road could return to campus. Students have been quick to show their appreciation and excitement.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Students who have moved back to campus are thrilled. And those were who were here or who are completely new to the campus have responded in the same way. Instructors couldn’t be happier with the facilities – they’re bright, modern, and they show how much the College values and reveres our tradespeople.”

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