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Trades students raise roof on new critical care clinic for birds of prey
Okanagan College Media Release

A longed-for critical care facility for the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls (SORCO) is finally off the ground, thanks to the work of students at Okanagan College.Owls May 2013

Nine students enrolled in the Penticton Residential Construction program, spent nearly six weeks building the 1,500-square foot structure, which will provide room to care for raptors in one of six stainless steel cages. In addition, the students built four flight pens where birds can begin their rehabilitation before being released back to the wild.

In the final days, 10 more students – all in the Plumbing and Piping program – pitched in for two days. Both programs included high school students enrolled in dual credit with School District 67.

“This has been an incredible experience,” said SORCO volunteer and building committee member Dale Belvedere, noting it’s a significant addition to their original care facility – a cramped and noisy 250-square foot room. “We were amazed at what they were able to do and the work is just perfect.”

Okanagan College instructor Darrell Butler said the experience was equally great for the students.

“It’s really a win/win for the students and SORCO,” he said. “They’re proud to have contributed to this great cause.”

The new building will provide a quiet and self-contained unit to care for a variety of raptors. Belvedere said the timing couldn’t be better as SORCO is hosting its annual open house and fundraiser on Sunday, May 5.

“We’ve been talking about this building for years now, and now people can actually see it,” she said.

Last year Belvedere approached the College about the idea of helping the non-profit organization build the facility, which is located on land owned by the Land Conservancy.

“Projects like this give our students tremendous hands-on experience with real projects, which is precisely what the Residential Construction program is all about said, “ said John Haller, Okanagan College Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Then to have them work on something so unique, is really a bonus.”

SORCO was established in 1987 and each year cares for more than 90 injured birds of prey, many of them owls. For more information about SORCO, visit, or call 250-498-4251.

For more information about Trades programs at Okanagan College, including the Residential Construction program, visit