Officials gathered to break ground for the Bright Start child care centre at Okanagan College last year. The completed facility is now a finalist in the annual commercial building awards. (photo courtesy Okanagan College)

Officials gathered to break ground for the Bright Start child care centre at Okanagan College last year. The completed facility is now a finalist in the annual commercial building awards. (photo courtesy Okanagan College)

South Okanagan buildings being recognized

Record number of finalists for Commercial Building Awards

The annual Commercial Building Awards is boasting a record 37 finalist this year, including several entries from the South Okanagan.

The ninth annual Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards recognize the best in commercial and industrial buildings completed prior to July 31, 2017 in the region stretching from Kamloops to Osoyoos, and east to Cranbrook, Nelson and Golden.

That finalists list includes Greata Ranch Winery in Peachland, 8th Generation Winery in Summerland, along with the Osoyoos Fire Hall, Osoyoos Indian Band Administration Building.

Penticton has four entries in the finalists, including the new Ashley Homestore, the Lakeside Resort, Unit Electrical Engineering and the new Bright From the Start Child Care at Okanagan College.

“The competition is stiff this year,” said Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College president. “We’re honoured that this building would be one of the finalists.”

Hamilton said the child care building, which is already in operation, is a living testament to the college’s mission, which is to transform lives and communities.

“This is not just a service to our students and staff who have need of child care but it is also being populated by people from the community who are in need of childcare,” said Hamilton, noting that the project is a partnership with the community, and is being run by the Penticton and District Community Resource Society. The building was built, he said by Ritchie Construction, with design by Landform Architecture.

“We’re here for our students, we are here for our communities,” said Hamilton, adding that Okanagan College is committed to building nothing but the most sustainable buildings possible, like the Centre of Excellence on the Penticton campus, which itself has won many local, national and international awards.

The goal for the child care facility is a little different, to earn passive building certification.

“This is a different kind of sustainable technology. Every building that we do we try to build something that makes sense in that place for that purpose,” said Hamilton. “We think as a place of higher learning that we have an obligation to try to break some new ground, do our small part in staving off some of the effects of climate change.”

Okanagan College was the big winner at last year’s awards, taking best overall for the Trades Centre on the Kelowna campus.

“It’s not about winning every year. It is really about being part of a growing movement and being at the forefront of that movement,” said Hamilton.

The Southern Interior Construction Association, along with RE/MAX Commercial and MNP LLP are gold sponsors for the awards. Black Press is a media sponsor for the event and the Business Examiner Thompson Okanagan co-ordinates the event.

The finalists will be announced on Sept. 28 during a gala reception at Manteo Resort in Kelowna. Tickets can be booked through the Business Examiner website.