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Okanagan College’s new Trades Training Centre in Vernon, which opened its doors to students last month, is already being recognized for its innovative construction.
The centre took home the Institutional Award at the 10th Annual Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards held on Thursday, Sept. 20 in Kelowna, presented by MNP LLP, RE/MAX Commercial and the Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA).
This year’s event saw a record-tying 37 finalists competing for honours in a host of categories including industrial, institutional, hospitality, retail, multi-family, mixed use and other types of buildings.
“We had three goals in mind when we set out to construct our new Trades facility in Vernon,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We knew we wanted to provide students with the highest-quality learning environment possible, to build a facility that will help meet the demand for skilled trades people in the North Okanagan and beyond, and, finally, to continue to raise the bar for ourselves in sustainability.
“On behalf of Okanagan College, thank you to SICA and to everyone who lends their time and expertise to these awards. We’re honoured to be recognized among such an impressive list of finalists and award recipients.”
The $6.2-million, 1,250 square-metre (13,450 square-foot) facility can accommodate approximately 150 students per year and features a dedicated welding shop and multi-use spaces in which the College can deliver training in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing and pipefitting. (The first class of students in the shop were a group of 18 Plumbing and Pipefitting Foundation students who helped to officially open the building on August 7.)
The centre also houses the College’s Women in Trades training program and the first class of students from that program to access the new building began this week.
MQN Architects and Interior Design of Vernon designed the building. Maple Reinders Construction of Kelowna served as the General Contractor.
The facility was constructed to meet the minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard, building on the College’s commitment to delivering sustainable facilities.
Of the $6.21-million total project cost, the Province of B.C. provided $2.88 million and the Government of Canada provided $2.66 million. Federal funding was made available through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
The project was also buoyed by significant community support. The Okanagan College Foundation raised more than $1 million toward the College’s $673,000 capital construction commitment, as well as provide support for students and programming.
“The building was a true partnership between the architects, designers, the builder, the College and the community,” notes Jane Lister, Regional Dean for the North Okanagan. “We’re grateful to our students and staff for their patience during the construction period. The result has been worthwhile, as evidenced by this award and all the positive feedback we’re hearing from students and instructors so far.”