A grand opening ceremony for Okanagan College’s new Health Sciences Centre in Kelowna was hosted on Friday (Oct. 1), one month after the building opened its doors to students at the beginning of September.
Officials were given a tour of the 2,822-square-metre facility prior to the ceremony, which was attended by Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang and Okanagan College president Neil Fassina.
Kang said that the new facility will help meet the demand for health-care services for people across the Okanagan and the B.C. Interior.
“This building is a showcase of our commitment to building learning spaces that meet the growing demand for services while ensuring these structures reflect the best in sustainable building practices,” she said.
The building includes labs, classrooms and office space that will reflect spaces students will encounter in the industry. The building will support 591 students who will be training for in-demand jobs such as certified dental assistant, health-care assistant, pharmacy technician and others.
“We know B.C. needs more health-care professionals, and we’re committed to training a new generation of the people who care for us when we need it. Okanagan College’s new Health Sciences Centre is a modern, new facility that will help set both students and our province up for success,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
One student shared her experience learning in the new facility over the past month during the event.
“Health care is a demanding field, so having state-of-the-art classrooms and labs like those in the new Health Sciences Centre is extremely important,” said bachelor of science nursing student Katelyn McGillivray.
“As a student, I really appreciate how the college and the province are investing in the best possible facilities and education that will set us up for success going into our careers.”
The $19.4-million Health Sciences Centre received $15.4 million in government funding, with the remaining $2.9 million funded by Okanagan College and $1.1 million from donors.