Students and staff were joined by community leaders on June 10 for the announcement.
An essential community in the Selkirk College learning corridor for five decades, the purchase of the building that houses the Trail Campus opens a new chapter of exciting possibility and future growth in the Lower Columbia and Boundary regions.
The Greater Trail Community Centre building located at the corner of Cedar and Helena streets has been home to Selkirk College programming since 1988. The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) is selling the building to the college for one dollar. With a $1 million investment by the Province of British Columbia to fund building and technology upgrades, the campus will strengthen the opportunity for learners’ success.
Selkirk College first opened its doors in 1966 at the Castlegar Campus and established a presence in Trail when it purchased Mrs. Cook’s Business College in 1972. First located in the Royal Canadian Legion building on Victoria Street, the college quickly added adult basic education to its offerings. Over the decades, Selkirk College has provided a variety of programs in downtown Trail that respond to the changing employment market needs and shifting demographics of the Lower Columbia communities.
The purchase of the campus building is the latest step in a growing post-secondary presence in the Lower Columbia over the last decade. In September 2019, the new Digital Fabrication & Design Program found a home on the Trail Campus, joining the Academic Upgrading Program, Health Care Assistant Program, Steps to Opportunities, Academics & Readiness (SOAR) Program, and Community Education & Workplace Training courses. In 2018, the Selkirk Technology Access Centre (STAC) located on Highway Drive transitioned from the MIDAS Lab to become a vital part of the college’s research and innovation arm.
Starting in 2023, the new two-year Practical Nursing Program will begin welcoming cohorts of between 16 and 24 students to the Trail Campus. A push by the Provincial Government to address human resource needs with the region’s health care sector, the Practical Nursing Program will fit perfectly into the campus that is currently home to the Health Care Assistant Program and Outreach Street Nursing component of the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program that is based out of the Castlegar Campus.
To go along with the new programming and opportunities, one of the foundational strengths of the campus will continue to connect with a broad range of local learners. The Community Education & Workplace Training courses that have been offered at the Trail Campus range from babysitter training and first aid to fruit tree pruning and workshops on board development, will continue to provide steady access for the entire community.
“The purchase of the building is tremendous news for both the college and the community,” says Carol Currie, the Trail Campus coordinator for Community Education & Workplace Training. “We will continue to provide people of this region with opportunities for continuous learning that enhances our work lives, keeps us safe and healthy, enriches our organizations, and feeds our minds and souls.”
The tenants in the Greater Trial Community Centre – the Bailey Theatre, VISAC Gallery, Trail Gymnastics Club and the Trail & District Arts Council – will all remain important pieces of what is currently at the building.
The Trail Campus building was constructed in 1923 as the Trail Technical School which was for Grades 9 to 12. When J.L. Crowe Secondary opened in 1952, the building was home to the Trail Junior High School until 1983. The building remained vacant for three years until the RDKB invested $3 million into a renovation project that culminated in the re-opening in 1988.