UBC Okanagan snaps up SD 23 land adjacent to planned downtown Kelowna campus

UBCO buys SD 23 land

Central Okanagan Public Schools has sold a piece of land to UBC Properties Trust for UBC Okanagan’s downtown campus.

The land, at 580 Doyle Ave. is currently the site of the McWilliams Centre, which includes offices for school district staff in the k-12 online education program and eSchool23.

Those staff will be moving over to the Hollywood Road Education Services building in the near future.

"The sale of the property will help the District fund renovations to the existing Hollywood Road Education Services (HRES) to improve building efficiency, enhance services to online learners, and accommodate the online learning program's staff, while continuing to access the space at Doyle Avenue until the renovations are complete," said Delta Carmichael, Secretary-Treasurer/CFO for Central Okanagan Public Schools.

The University says the McWilliams Centre site has been tapped as a long-term investment to help service the needs of the new downtown campus. The school district will continue to lease the space until renovations at Hollywood Road are complete.

“This land acquisition offers UBC the opportunity to remain responsive in the years ahead to the evolving needs of the community regarding academic programming and services in downtown Kelowna,” says Lesley Cormack, principal and deputy vice-chancellor for UBC’s Okanagan campus.

“We are pleased to be able to help Central Okanagan Public Schools pursue its priorities for other locations while maintaining this site’s existing use as a place for education in the heart of the community.”

Cormack calls it an important investment by UBC in its presence in the Okanagan and proof positive of the tremendous potential it sees in UBCO Downtown.

Central Okanagan Board of Education chairperson Lee-Ann Tiede says the sale allows the district to focus on priorities of sustainability and providing 21st-century learning opportunities without interruptions to services or loss of classroom space.

"The agreement will allow for this property to continue to support education services in the future with our community partner UBCO," adds Tiede.

Earlier this year, Kelowna city council created a specialized comprehensive planning zone to allow the 46 storey UBCO development at 550 Doyle Ave. Construction is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2023.

More Kelowna News