The Okanagan School of the Arts (OSA) has bought a little more time to plan for the school’s future.
Following successful discussions held over the past week, the arts school has received support from the City of Penticton and School District 67 (SD67) which will provide the school with extra support as they transition out of the Shatford Centre to a new location.
The OSA’s lease at the Shatford Centre was set to expire June 30, giving the school no place to go after the lease expired.
However, SD67 has agreed to give the OSA a two-month extension to support their transition from the building.
The City of Penticton has also agreed to cover the OSA’s cost of insurance and city supplied utilities — a total cost of approximately $17,291 — for the extra two months.
Through the provided extension, the OSA will have until Aug. 31 to make their transition into a new space.
Penticton’s mayor, John Vassilaki said the OSA is an important part of the community.
“I want to thank the dozens of volunteers and community members who have contributed to the success of the OSA in the Shatford Centre,” said Vassilaki. “The City is pleased to announce this partnership today so that momentum is not lost during the transition.”
SD67 chair James Palanio agreed that arts school is an integral part of the community but said the district is simply not in a place where they are currently able to permanently support the OSA’s occupancy at the Shatford Centre.
“We recognize the Shatford Centre is a valuable community asset and appreciate the work the Okanagan School of the Arts did in improving and maintaining the building over the past decade,” said Palanio. “While we appreciate the tremendous work the OSA had done during their tenancy in the SD67 Shatford building, SD67 is not in a position to use Ministry of Education resources directed to support student learning to maintain the OSA’s occupancy of the building.”
Meanwhile Keith MacIntyre, president of the OSA,is thankful for the additional support but would have preferred to have kept the school at the Shatford Centre permanently. He said the extra two months and financial help will allow the school to plan for its next chapter.
“While we would have preferred to remain in the Shatford Centre and continue our arts programs in the building, we believe today’s announcement allows us time to transition to a new location and plan our future,” said MacIntyre. “We are very grateful for the trust the community had in us to use this building for the last decade.
“We would like to thank all of those who have volunteered and donated over the years. Our current priority is to ensure all our community assets are carefully moved. We will then chart a new path forward with our members so that we can continue to promote creativity and connection through our courses, workshops, and programs.”
The OSA was originally set to be forced out of the Shatford Centre by June 30.