School District 27 will be receiving $3 million towards transforming a former dormitory site into a childcare facility in Williams Lake.
Superintendent of Schools, Chris Van Der Mark said the money from the ChildCare BC New Spaces fund will create 119 new childcare spaces at Lake City Secondary’s Columneetza campus.
“We’re talking design, construction, primarily limited to the first two floors of that building and there are still options of what we may do upstairs. It’s $3 million from the Government and School District 27 is also contributing additional funds to update and revitalize the Columneetza cafeteria to support the daycare and school.”
The plan will see the proposed operator, KidCare Daycare, extending its existing services into the new facility.
“Initially we see us filling the spots with before and after school care for school-aged children, which is a very clear need in our community.” Irene Willsie, Executive Director of the Women’s Contact Centre that operates KidCare, said in a release. “While that work is underway, we plan to use the additional space to host and train new Early Childhood Educators to build up our capacity to create more infant and toddler spaces.”
In that same release, School Board Director Ciel Patenaude said “Once this project is complete, there will be a whole new look and feel at our Columneetza campus that will benefit our entire community.”
Patenaude added that it was a community effort and thanked all the groups who supported School District 27’s application.
City of Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said there have been a few attempts to access this fund with different proposals brought forward from the community in the past.
“This has been a priority of the City since we started our Childcare Needs Assessment and Action plan work in 2019. I would like to commend School District 27 for their commitment to supporting families in Williams Lake, and the leadership they have shown in their application.” Cobb said.