St. Joseph School Groundbreaking Ceremony

Community breaks ground on new St. Joseph School

Kelowna Now News Link

The City of Kelowna will soon have a brand new Catholic school in the inner-city.

On Wednesday, local dignitaries joined students and staff at St. Joseph Elementary School, to break ground on their new building.



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Mayor Colin Basran and head builder Mike Jacobs help St. Joseph's students break ground for their new school.


The school, located at 839 Sutherland Ave., has been in existence for about 80 years, with wear and tear to show for it.

Over a decade in the making, the project will be up and running again in time for school in the fall.

Next week, crews will begin digging to put in the foundation, and part of the building is already being built in a factory in Penticton.

The school, currently made up of three buildings, will be in a different configuration. The new space will give room for 360 students, more than a 100-student increase, all under one roof.



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St. Joseph's Principal Lynn Fleck spoke about their excitement over the new school.


Lynn Fleck, principal of St. Joseph, said going between buildings isn’t so bad in the summer, but in the winter, it requires students to get fully dressed.

That, and problems with lighting, plumbing and roofing, means the upgrade is more than welcome to staff and students.

“It is definitely what we needed and it is definitely what we deserved,” said Fleck. “The buildings were getting old and they were starting to leak.

“There’s only so much repair you can do and it was time for something new.”



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Mayor Colin Basran also spoke at the ground-breaking.


They hope to see the school, currently serving a Catholic community of about 3,000 families, grow in population in the years to come.

In seeing this through, the community has made multiple events a success, including the Bishop’s Dinner, all part of the ‘Masterpiece Campaign.’

So far, they’ve raised about $3.8 million, with $1.4 million to go.

At the ceremony, St. Joseph students and staff sang and danced, with smiles on their faces.



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Students on stage, and off, celebrated the ground-breaking with a song.


“That’s just who we are,” said Fleck. “It’s all about celebrating education. Coming together today was just a way we could showcase who we are to the community.”

As Fleck spoke to KelownaNow, she said she was standing where a kindergarten class will be in just a few months.

Although the timeline is ambitious, Fleck said it is 100 per cent doable.

“We have no question that this is going to be an amazing build and it’s going to be very, very exciting,” she said.

Mike Jacobs, building chairman of the project, said when the 28 modules are brought from Penticton, the crew will finish the exterior on sight.



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Building Chairman Mike Jacobs said the project will be done on time and on budget.


“It’s built to last,” he said, of the project, which he described as modern.

The playground, where the new school will be placed, has since been relocated and “kid tested,” according to Jacobs.

After 80 years, he said the worn out structure was highly in need of a revamp.

“Building technology has come so far just in the past 20 years, let alone the last 80 years,” said Jacobs.



Photo Credit: KelownaNow.


Jacobs said he was happy to help with the project, especially considering that both his children, who are now in university, went to school at St. Joseph’s when they were younger.

“They got a great start here, a great foundation, and I’m pleased to deliver a great foundation for a new building. “