Talks on shared Kelowna high school, rec centre in early stage

New school and rec centre?

Talks are moving forward between the City of Kelowna and School District 23 on a partnership that could include a new high school with replacement of Parkinson Rec Centre.

The idea was first floated in 2015 when it was recommended the city replace the aging rec centre with a new, $50-million facility.

With the school district formally applying to the province for a new high school at the same time, it was suggested the two work together.

District secretary-treasurer Ryan Stierman says both staffs met regularly over the fall to determine the feasibility of a joint facility.

"Really, the first step is for us to come to a memorandum of agreement as to the process. We are looking at the scope of the project and doing an analysis," Stierman told Castanet. "We definitely think this has a lot of good potential. It's a way of being more efficient with our resources and the limited land that is available. We are still pursuing it because of the perceived benefits."

The district owns eight acres of land on the rec centre site where Dr. Knox Middle School once sat. At the moment, it serves as parking for the rec centre fields and Apple Bowl.

"Transfer of land ownership is something that is being reviewed as part of this project. There are a lot of different options, lease, land swap."

Stierman says the concept of a partnership between a city and school district is not new. He says there are numerous examples across the province.

The city has set aside $500,000 in this year's budget for staff time and consultants prior to finalizing an agreement, preparing for grants as well as preparation for an Alternative Approval Process and submission to the province. Consulting costs will be shared with the school district.

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