After renting the Kootenay Boundary Regional District’s Trail Campus for more than 25 years, Selkirk College acquired the downtown landmark for $1.
The agreement to make the Helena Street building a permanent Selkirk College campus was released Friday, with the province announcing a $1 million investment to upgrade technology and classrooms to increase the access to a growing range of course offerings.
“This donation, and the community spirit behind it, will ensure that Selkirk College remains a permanent local fixture as the new owners and trustees of the Greater Trail Community Center,” Linda Worley, regional council chair, said in Friday’s press release. “Together, we can attract more investment and build a stronger, well-educated workforce equipped for the future, while positively affecting the lives of students and visitors for many years to come.
“This is exactly what Trail and the region needs and wants.”
Buying the building also means the college will be able to make better use of the space between the Trail and Castlegar campuses, relieving pressure on the growing locality of Castlegar.
“The Town of Trail and the many other surrounding communities in Lower Columbia place great importance on local and accessible post-secondary education,” said Maggie Matear, incoming president of Selkirk College. “The number of students and the delivery of programs and services at Trail Campus are growing,” she added. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to build on the success of the Trail Campus, working with the other long-term tenants to develop courses and programs that will enhance the educational landscape in the heart of this wonderful city.”
Matear was referring to the college adding other training opportunities to the Trail campus, such as the licensed practical nurse (LPN) program. New courses will complement existing programming that includes academic upgrading and development, continuing education and workforce development, digital manufacturing and design, healthcare assistance and others.
Additionally, the campus will also support student collaboration on advanced manufacturing and applied materials research at the Selkirk College Technology Access Center, located on Highway Drive in Glenmerry.
This new owner will have no impact on the day-to-day operations of the building’s tenants such as the VISAC Gallery. The college notes that tenants are very important to the community and very important to Selkirk College.
On behalf of the city, Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin congratulated Selkirk College on acquiring the Trail campus.
“We are thrilled to have a revitalized Learning Center at the Trail Center, including enhanced educational programming,” Pasin said. “Selkirk’s educational presence in the area will be strengthened and the city’s downtown will continue to be revitalized with more students and families coming to Trail. We thank Selkirk for their commitment to Trail’s future of post-secondary education and economic growth.
History of the building
The building was constructed in 1923 as Trail Technical School and significantly remodeled and expanded in 1939 to become Trail Junior High School which closed in 1983.
The building sat vacant for three years because it did not meet fire or other building code standards at the time and needed major renovations to be safe for public use.
The Regional District began a study in 1985 to determine the feasibility of renovating the facility, and the following year began a $3 million renovation project that resulted in the Greater Trail Community Center opening in 1988.
Since then, the Regional District has operated the center to serve the communities of Fruitvale, Montrose, Zone A, Trail, Warfield, Rossland and Zone B-Lower Columbia Old Glory. The building currently houses Selkirk College’s Trail Campus, VISAC Gallery, Trail Gymnastics Club, Regional Emergency Operations Center, Arts Council, and Bailey Theater.
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City of TrailCollegeKootenay Boundary Regional DistrictPost-Secondary Education