A large expansion of childcare spaces in the Central Okanagan is expected to be completed by next fall.
Central Okanagan Public schools is in the process of building seven new child care facilities at various local schools. The seven facilities have a combined cost of about $29 million and are being funded by the provincial government.
“The implementation of these projects will create 602 new childcare spaces for the community. We are grateful to be part of this initiative,” said an update going before school board trustees on Friday.
The facilities will be located at Black Mountain Elementary (82 seats), Okanagan Mission Secondary (82 seats), Anne McClymont Elementary (92 seats), George Elliot Secondary (81 seats), North Glenmore Elementary (92 seats), Ellison Elementary School (81 seats) and Hudson Road Elementary (92 seats).
“Among the seven daycare projects, five are under construction, one is in procurement stage, and one is in design-development stage. All seven projects are scheduled to be completed by Fall, 2023,” said the SD23 update.
The daycares will be operated by a three nonprofits: YMCA, Boys and Girls Club Okanagan and Clubhouse Childcare.
There remains a large shortage of childcare spaces in the Okanagan, although operators have said that a lack of early childhood educators is the largest barrier to expansion of daycare services.
The YMCA has gone as far as offering free education for early childhood educators, training that typically costs about $15,000 in tuition.