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Ground was broken at the Penticton campus today for the daycare facility by Penticton MLA Dan Ashton (representing Minister of Child and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux), Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS) Executive Director Tanya Behardien and Okanagan College Regional Dean Donna Lomas.
When the daycare is complete in mid-2017, it will be operated by PDCRS.
“This is great news for the local families,” says Ashton. “Adding 64 new child care spaces for Penticton-area families who need them demonstrates our government’s commitment to building stronger, healthier communities throughout the province.”
“There is definitely a need for this capacity,” explains Behardien, whose organization operates eight child care programs in the region, including three centres in Penticton. The PDCRS has more than 40 years of experience in early childhood programming and is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an organization this year.
“The new child care centre will benefit the community, but is also a major benefit to our students and staff,” explains Hamilton. “The survey that was part of the business case for the daycare clearly identified the need for this. We also know that even when our campus is less busy in the summer months, there will be demand for the daycare because of the increase in activity in the tourism and hospitality sector.”
The daycare will be located at the northern end of the campus, with access from Timmins Street.
Lomas, who is retiring in the next month, sees the daycare as a legacy project that fits into the College’s well-deserved reputation for partnerships, service to students and the community. It will also continue the College’s growing reputation for leadership in sustainable building.
The 372-square-metre (4,000 sq. ft.) daycare facility is being constructed to Passive House Design with the goal of being built to net-zero energy and LEED Platinum standards.
“This will be another example of how sustainable building technologies can be incorporated into comfortable learning and care space,” says Lomas.
In 2016, the campus’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence was recognized as the greenest building in Canada’s university and college environment. The design of the daycare has been aided by students from the College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology program, and students from the College’s Residential Construction program will help with the construction of the facility, which starts in February 2017.