A legacy of nurturing children will continue.
The Vernon School District has officially sold the former West Vernon school to the North Okanagan Child Care Society.
“We’re very excited. What a great Christmas present,” said Rebekka Lindskoog, NOCCS chairperson.
West Vernon school was closed by the district in 2007 because of low enrolment.
NOCCS began renting the space in 2007 on a year-to-year lease and purchase negotiations began in 2009.
“It (purchase) means security for our staff and our members,” said Lindskoog.
“It will be a long-term home. We’ve never had a long-term home before.”
The school district welcomes the land transfer.
“It is gratifying to know that the school will continue to provide the community with a much-needed service and will also meet the needs of its children, but in a different capacity,” said Bill Turanski, school district chairperson.
NOCCS provides an array of programs to 267 children between the ages of nine months and 12 years, and there are 90 children on the waitlist.
“We’re the third largest child care society in Canada and the largest in the Okanagan,” said Lindskoog.
Space will be rented out to tenants that complement the society’s services.
“We really can become a community centre,” said Lindskoog.
The school district’s VLearn program will remain at West Vernon for two years.
The property sale has provided the school district with $1.4 million, but it cannot be used for operations such as staffing levels.
“It has to be used for capital, any kind of building improvements (under provincial rules),” said Joe Rogers, district superintendent.