Okanagan College has been getting some proof lately of what good neighbours they have.
In recent weeks, both Canadian Tire and Home Hardware, two neighbouring businesses along the Channel Parkway, have chipped in, each making major donations to the fundraising campaign still working on raising the college’s share of construction costs for the new Centre of Excellence.
“It’s all been happening so fast. It’s wonderful having the local community really stepping up,” said Donna Lomas, regional dean for the South Okanagan. “It really sends a message that they see us as being an important part of the community and they want to be part of the success of the college.”
Canadian Tire, the college’s next door neighbour, has been especially patient throughout the construction process and accompanying disruptions, according to Lomas. And now, she continued, Canadian Tire owners Doug and Lorraine MacMillan have donated $10,000 to the college.
“They have allowed us to use their parking lot for much of the last year. They have offered up their entry and exits for the big trucks that had difficulty manoeuvring,” she said. “They’ve put up with the construction noise, dust and have been nothing but supportive during it all.”
“For the past six years we have been happy to build a relationship as neighbours to Okanagan College,” said MacMillan. “We had the opportunity to go inside the new Centre of Excellence and are so impressed with what the college has brought to Penticton. This donation is a win-win situation for us.”
Paul McCann, president and owner of Pro Builders Supply Ltd., echoes the MacMillans’ sentiments, committing $25,000 to the fundraising campaign.
“The Centre of Excellence is a great example of the kind of development that will build capacity in the community,” said McCann, whose company owns and operates Home Building Centres in Penticton, Osoyoos and West Kelowna.
Though the fundraising campaign is ongoing, the Centre of Excellence is up and running, with the first classes held in it getting ready to wrap up.
“They moved into the building on June 6. We’ve been using the students to help us in making adjustments and making sure that everything is working,” said Lomas. “So far, the feedback I have been given is very positive.”
The sustainable technologies built into the centre is also working well, according to Lomas, especially the natural air circulation.
“It is so noticeable when you go into the building, it is completely fresh air. There is no recycled air,” she said. “That really strikes you as you start walking through the building. And the temperatures have been really good. If anything, it has been on the cool side, even when we have the occasional hot day this summer.”