Vernon’s Kalamalka Rotary has stepped forward with a major gift to support amenities for students in the new Trades Centre under construction at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.
Kal Rotary is contributing $25,000 from the club’s annual Dream Auction.
“We’re pleased to be able to support a space that will enhance the facilities available at the college, help to grow a skilled workforce in the North Okanagan and meet the increasing demand for skilled trades workers in the area,” said club president Neil Perry.
The club’s support will specifically help the college outfit men’s and women’s locker rooms in the $6.2 million, 13,450 square-foot facility, which is slated to open in August.
The gift also marks a significant milestone in the fundraising campaign for the project.
“Kalamalka Rotary’s support brings us over the $915,000 mark and within $85,000 dollars of our goal,” said Michael Tindall, chairperson of the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign.
“We’re deeply grateful for all the support we’ve received — it’s come from individuals, it’s come from families, businesses large and small, and with just a couple months left to go before students step into the building, we’re confident the good people of Vernon will help us meet our goal.”
The new building will provide space for approximately 150 students per year to train in more than a half-dozen programs, including carpentry, electrical and welding. It will help the college deliver specialized offerings like Aboriginal Trades Training and Women in Trades Training, as well as contract training to meet the needs of employers in the region.
“Skilled tradespeople play a significant role in the economic prosperity of the North Okanagan, as they do in many communities throughout the region we serve,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.
“Our new Trades Training Centre in Vernon is going to give our students a bright, modern and truly state-of-the-art facility that will match the quality of instruction they have always received at the college. And in so doing, it will help ensure we can continue to train the skilled workers needed to address the skills gap looming or already being felt in many areas across the province and the country.
“We’re thankful to Kalamalka Rotary and all the donors who are investing in Okanagan College and in our students’ futures for years to come.”
The total cost for the new Trades Centre is $6.2 million.