Southern Okanagan Secondary School Expansion


Rising from the ashes.

The replacement of the Southern Okanagan Secondary School began as an expansion and renovation to an existing Secondary School, with an attached community supported Performing Arts Theatre. During construction of the expansion, just prior to the completion, the existing historical wing and Venables Theatre was destroyed in a fire.

The Southern Okanagan Secondary School renovation and expansion was completed by HDR | CEI in collaboration with KMBR Architects Planners of Vancouver. HDR | CEI’s role, led by partner Nick Bevanda, was Lead Design Architects for the initial expansion. After the fire, our role shifted to Lead Design Architects for the new Performing Arts Theatre and Neighbourhood Learning Centre.

The initial expansion, which survived the fire, includes a new gymnasium, science labs, and multi-purpose room. The multi-purpose room is the primary focal point for student gathering and is designed as an expressive wood structure constructed from glue laminated beams, wood decking, and concrete and wood columns. This space is circular in plan and opens to a central courtyard.

The new Performing Arts Theatre was completed in February 2014. This new wing provides seating for 400 patrons in a tiered seating configuration. The main theatre lobby is constructed similarly to the multi-purpose room and has a unique wood roof structure. The two-storey lobby is visible from the street and allows for public gathering.

Project Cost



119,780 sq ft (new), 7,072 sq ft (reno)


February 2014

Sustainable Features

  • Water use reduction, including water efficient landscaping
  • Stormwater management
  • Wind turbine
  • Geothermal system and solar photo voltaic cells


Wood Design Award, Interior Beauty category, 2015

Wood Design Awards in BC, Canadian Wood Council

Excellence Award, Community/Institutional category, 2014

Southern Interior Construction Association Commercial Building Awards

Judges’ Choice, 2014

Southern Interior Construction Association Commercial Building Awards



School District 53


Oliver, BC