Centre of Excellence raises first walls (and a little bit of a stink)
While construction of
the Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus is continuing on
schedule, the progress hasn’t come without some disruptions. The most
persistent of those disruptions has been parking (or the distinct lack
thereof), but last Thursday there was another disturbance that wasn’t
planned for: an excavator operator struck a gas line that led to a
campus-wide evacuation. The evacuation lasted about an hour and
involved firefighters coming to campus to help ventilate the
Despite this short-lived evacuation, progress is
being made. The first set of prefabricated gym wall panels have been
installed in Penticton - the second set should be arriving in three
weeks. These panels will be the source of radiant heating and cooling
for the gymnasium. The walls were designed to be lighter, contain only
three inches of concrete (for the heating and cooling), and have all
the necessary piping and electrical pre-installed.
entrance to the campus and the return of on-campus parking is on
schedule to be complete by August 1. The parking lot has been adjusted
so that the campus will retain the use of the portables for the
2010/2011 academic year.
Overall the building is on track and
on budget with the completion of tendering. PCL believes that the
building will be at lock up stage by mid fall. The Centre of
Excellence is already meeting some of its vision as a teaching
building; apprenticeship classes have been through the site to learn
new techniques and this will continue throughout the building process.
There are currently 50 people working on the site – that
number is expected to reach 85 by August. Wondering exactly what all
this looks like? Check out the live web cam
and watch the transformation of the Penticton campus.
Negotiations underway with BCGEU Support Staff and OCFA
Local negotiations with two of the College’s three unions started during the week of June 14. The College’s Negotiating Committees met with the BCGEU Support Staff on June 14 and 15 and with the OCFA on June 16 and 17. President Jim Hamilton started each session with opening remarks to set the context for their round of negotiations with the two unions.
Protocol Agreements were signed at both tables and all of the Negotiating Committees tabled and provided a brief review of their proposals. Minor housekeeping changes to the Support Staff Collective Agreement and the OCFA Collective Agreement were agreed upon.
Negotiations with the Support Staff are scheduled to continue from August 23 to 27 and for two additional days in mid-September.
Dates for negotiations with the OCFA are scheduled from August 31 to September 3 and for each Monday and Friday thereafter into early October.
Watch Inside Okanagan College for further information on the negotiation process and outcomes.
College-bound Boucherie grad earns Thorpe & Friends Scholarship
Danielle Hofer, a Mount Boucherie graduate with a keen interest in social entrepreneurship, is the 2010 recipient of the $2,500 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship.
Over the course of the last year, when not busy working on papers, exams and school projects, Danielle lead several fundraising initiatives in her school to support children in Kenya. Along with several of her classmates, Danielle traveled to a village in Kenya earlier this year to help find solutions for attaining clean drinking water, medical support and educational opportunities.
Danielle will be attending the Kelowna campus in the fall and has enrolled in the Bachelor of Business Administration program. She was drawn to Okanagan College due to its community profile and the opportunities to engage in social entrepreneurship through a variety of pathways, including Students in Free Enterprise.
The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship supports students from the former MLA’s riding and is based on a combination of financial need, academic standing, leadership potential and demonstration of contribution to their community.
GM Canada supports training at Okanagan College
A donation of a dozen prototype engines by GM Canada is helping ensure that Okanagan College’s auto service technician program fires on all cylinders.
The donation – 12 non-saleable 5.3-litre V8 engines – was unveiled this month at the College’s Kelowna trades training facility.
“We believe this to be an important investment in future auto service technicians,” said Tom Odell, Technology Planning Manager for GM Canada. “Giving students the opportunity to research and understand current engine technology using a hands-on approach clearly provides a rich learning opportunity.”
The engines will be used by second-year apprentices at the College, explained John Haller, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.
“We rely extensively on industry support of our programs, and GM Canada has been a leader on that front. Their donations of cars, engines and other materials have helped our apprentices and entry-level trades people for many years.”
“A challenge for us - and one that industry expects us to meet in our role as trainers - is to ensure that our apprentices leave Okanagan College with an education in current technology,” said Al Cohoe, chair of the Motor Vehicle Trades Department at the College. “There was a big smile on my face when GM called to let me know about this donation and I can assure you that students are eager to get their hands on these engines.”
High demand results in additional Employee Survey Task Force session
Over the course of the past two weeks, each of the College’s four regions has hosted a town hall meeting with members of the Employee Survey Task Force.
The Task Force - with representation from all employee groups - has engaged in a very intensive process to review the outcomes of the employee survey, to identify the key issues contributing to the survey results, and to delve deeply into the factors behind these results.
The town hall sessions were intended to provide employees with information and recommendations arising from this work and to gather employee feedback on a range of possible actions.
If you missed those sessions but have an interest, here is some good news!
The Employee Survey Task Force members have determined - in part because of the size of the Kelowna staff and the strong response to the June 10 session - that there is a need for another focus group opportunity in Kelowna.
“With the interest level so high, and the valuable comments and suggestions we’ve received, we would like to hold one more session before we hit the July-August peak holiday period,” noted Vice President Steve Koehle.
Anyone interested in attending this final session should meet in room E103 on Friday, June 25 from 12:15 – 2 p.m.
Goodbye Novell, hello Windows: the work continues
reminder that the work to migrate Okanagan College File and Print
Services from the Novell Netware platform to Microsoft Windows
continues, with plans to complete by August. It is a process that
involves moving all existing files on the F drives and K drives to the
new infrastructure, and updating all Okanagan College desktop and
As noted in the last issue of Inside
Okanagan College, the project is well underway, and many administrative
and support departments have been migrated. IT Services will be toiling
over the next two months to complete as much of the remaining work as
possible, including converting all of the computers in labs, classrooms
and the Information Commons.
That said, IT Services
recognizes there will be some staff with laptops who will not return to
campus until August and those laptops may not have been updated.
Please note the following:
1. To learn more about the new infrastructure including logging in and finding your files, click here
If any of your course notes or student handouts refer to either
the F drive or the K drive you will need to update them because, in the
new infrastructure, disk drives are not referenced using single
3. If you received a new R400 laptop or X200 tablet
PC this spring, then your computer is likely ready for the new
4. If your laptop was not replaced this
year but has been worked on by IT Services in the past couple of months
then it probably is ready for the new infrastructure.
either #3 or #4 above do not apply to you or you are not sure, please
call the IT Helpdesk at 4444 or submit an IT Service Request at your
convenience. That way we can check it, and, if necessary, update it.
Depending on the availability of a technician this process may take
half an hour or you may need to leave your laptop with us for a while.
if you are able to login with your nine-digit Employee ID then your
laptop has already been converted. For additional information, click on
the AskUS link at the bottom of the IT Services home page, AskUS. For
assistance please call the IT Help Desk at local 4444.
College staff and their supporters run for a cause
A diverse group of staff from Okanagan College laced up their sneakers and downed caffeinated beverages in order to support the Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay in Kelowna on June 12-13.
The 24 Hour Relay raised over $202,000 for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and for Easter Seals Camp Winfield. The College undertook fundraising efforts including the Mother’s Day hanging baskets, raffle ticket sales, a tremendous bake sale and a fundraising BBQ. One of the main goals this year was to try to get as many people as possible from Okanagan College to get involved.
Between Okanagan College staff, friends and family, close to 100 people ran or walked on behalf of Okanagan College. Together the Okanagan College Team raised $2,224 (ranked 4th) and also finished fourth in total number of laps run (which amounts to 440).
Medical community gets behind Centre of Excellence
On Thursday June 17 a group of physicians and their spouses from the South Okanagan Similkameen region gathered at the home of Jim and Sandy Henderson to learn more and pledge their support for Penticton’s Centre of Excellence.
The Centre of Excellence is all about sustainability and healthy choices for the environment and for the people of the region, and is a project the medical community is really getting behind. President Hamilton and Dr. Andrew Hay spoke about the building, the Living Building Challenge and the impact this development is having on Okanagan College, the City of Penticton and the South Okanagan.
Dr. Gerry Karr, a local physician who helped organize the event, commented, “This venture will create opportunities for the highest training and education, it will bring interest back into the City of Penticton that we have not seen since DRAO opened its doors in the 1970’s. It will not only bring students into the community to receive their education, but it will offer reasons for them to stay.”
This event was the first of several targeting support from different professional groups within the South Okanagan Similkameen.
Beth Van Vorst retires
On June 11 Beth Van Vorst retired after spending 23 years as an employee of Okanagan College. Beth spent the last eight years in International Education, where she dedicated her time to students and exhibited great patience and concern for the needs of international students.
Beth was recognized for her outstanding service at the International student graduation, which was held at the Harvest Golf Club on June 6, and at a staff reception held on June 8 at Okanagan College.
Beth will be on campus in the coming weeks to help train her replacement so any staff who wish to say goodbye can stop by International Education in Kelowna.
Torch passes from Gould to Ebner
Joelle Ebner has been appointed as the Chair of the Association of Student Awards Personnel of BC, in a unanimous decision that will see her serve in the role for the 2010-11 year.
Joelle takes over from Sandi Gould, who was the previous Chair. Sandi was the first employee from Okanagan College to hold the position. The Chair is responsible for calling and running monthly executive meetings in Vancouver, acting as official spokesperson for the Association, and liaising with senior management at the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development.
Land Lubbing kids take to the high seas
If you happened to be out on Okanagan Lake on Saturday and thought you saw a familiar face aboard an ominous-looking pirate ship, you might have spotted Iron William Kidd (aka Director of Public Affairs Allan Coyle), who was helping out with the Variety Club’s Boats for Hope event, sponsored in part by the Boys and Girls Club.
Volunteers from the Kelowna Yacht Club and a host of other organizations gave of their time and resources to provide children with disabilities and their families a chance to get out on the water and have some fun.
It’s the fourth year that the Variety Club has held the event, which drew about 200 disabled children. (FYI – Coyle’s Pirate name is courtesy of a website only an old salt like he could find – with help from Google, of course - www.piratequiz.com
Also spotted on the lake as part of the event (although not in pirate garb) were MP Ron Cannan and Mayor Sharon Shepherd. There are rumours that neither returned to shore as dry as they’d started their journey - something to do with water fights . . .
Reg office staff strike it rich…but not quite rich enough to give up their day jobs
Staff in the Registrar’s Office received some welcome news last week when they were informed they had won money on Friday’s Lotto. A group of staff got 6 out of 7 numbers correct for a total win of $5,415.60. Each employee who participates in the group Lotto received $246.16. The group also won some free tickets.
Hula girls show team spirit at Ladies Golf Tournament
The Okanagan College Ladies Golf Tournament was hosted on June 21 in Kelowna. Forty-three ladies participated – some for fun and others for bragging rights. The team of Joan Kleinsteuber, Sandi Gould, Brenda Foster and Lynn Johnson won the tournament.
Another team was recognized, not necessarily for their skill but for their spirit! The team of Diane Adair, Bianka Blandon, Liz Currie and Lynda Dreaper (the Hula Girls) won best team spirit.