Standing three storeys high with open space classrooms and glass windows connecting the gymnasium to the outdoors, design plans were unveiled for Lake Country’s new middle school.
Parents and children alike gathered at George Elliot Secondary Tuesday night for a glimpse at H.S. Grenda Middle School’s modern design plans as part of a public information session.
Mitch Van Aller, director of operations with Central Okanagan Public Schools, said small changes will be made to the design, but this information session is about gathering feedback from the public.
“This is what we call a 21st century learning model school. There’s a lot of glass, a lot of openness. It’s very bright inside. People will have pods, or pod-like classrooms that will all open up into a centre area,” he said.
Justin Dyck, an architect with CHP Architects, said the school will be broken into separate communities, retaining a traditional learning environment with the ability to open as larger spaces.
With classrooms connected by garage-like shutters, he said it does pose a challenge for noise when compared to a traditional classroom, but the rooms will have soundproof features. Maker spaces will also be featured thoughout, as additional learning spaces, he said.
Parent and teacher Susanne Ruzicka said both of her children will be attending the new school.
“I think it’s creating some really good and interesting spaces,” she said.
Initially, she was concerned with classroom sizes and the amount of noise, but said by the end of the event, these concerns were addressed, she said.
Growing up in Kelowna and living in Lake Country for the last 10 years, Ruzicka used to work with Grenda.
“He was such a great guy and a positive role model,” she said.
Another parent, Josh Goode, is a third generation Lake Country resident, and has a daughter currently attending Peter Greer Elementary.
He had the pleasure of having Grenda as a career teacher and coach.
“To have a school named after him) is amazing. He was just an amazing teacher here and guidance counsellor,” he said. “I thought (the design) was really neat. It’s timeless enough and its not something too funky (that won’t look good in 10 years.) I was quite impressed.”
The new middle school will be located at the north end of the property next to George Elliot Secondary, with Bottom Wood Lake Road extending alongside the school complete with roundabouts.
The school will be heated and cooled using geothermal technology. Construction for two sports fields on the old Aspen Grove Golf Course site, will begin in May. One field will also feature a running track and will be utilized by the high school. Plans for two additional fields will be left to the District of Lake Country.
For H.S. Grenda Middle, construction will begin in June or July of this year, Van Aller said. The school will house 600 students in 20 classrooms as well as contain other learning spaces: a cafeteria, gym, art, drama and home ec rooms.
The province announced last year that it would provide $35.1 million for the project. The Central Okanagan School District will contribute $1.5 million to the project, in addition to the $3.8 million already spent on land for the new school.