Purcell Collegiate Incorporated (PCI) is building a world-class international boarding school in Kimberley, British Columbia. The school, Purcell Collegiate, will be licensed as a Group 4 Independent School under the BC Ministry of Education classification scheme. The school will employ BC-certified teachers and deliver the world-renowned BC curriculum to international and Canadian students in grades 7 – 12. In addition to core academic courses, it will offer specialized elective classes in the areas of sustainability, outdoor education, STEM, business and entrepreneurship, leadership, and fine arts. There will also be advanced coaching and training opportunities for student athletes in multiple sports academies beginning with hockey and expanding to soccer, golf, and other scholarship-qualifying sports. All aspects of the learning experience at PCS will be informed by and infused with the First Peoples Principles of Learning and Indigenous Ways of Knowing as guided and facilitated by the ʔaq̓am Community of the Ktunaxa Nation.
PCI will build the school in two phases: Phase 1 on approximately 10 acres shovel-ready land located on the northeast corner of the Purcell Golf course lands and Phase 2 on approximately 30 acres of land to the south of Phase 1 extending toward the St. Mary’s River. The Purcell Collegiate campus masterplan for Phase 1 includes an academic building, gymnasium, and student housing as well as a multi-purpose playing field and various outdoor learning spaces for an initial intake of 150 total students. The campus has been designed and will be equipped to offer the BC curriculum with a state-of-the-art learning environment that includes labs and maker spaces as well as a commercial kitchen and dining hall capable of serving up to 300+ students per day (to accommodate planned growth in student enrollment). An on-site childcare facility has also been incorporated into the design and will be open to the community.
PCI intends to incrementally increase the number of students attending Purcell Collegiate from 150 to 225 and ultimately 300+ students. The need to integrate this growth into the initial campus masterplan, each building’s design, and the project’s overall budget is supportive of the use of modular construction for certain aspects of the project. This approach lends itself well to nature and scope of the school campus we are creating: a nimble, adaptable learning environment for a fast-moving, ever-changing world. The Purcell Collegiate School campus is envisioned to be much more than buildings on land; it will be an integrated learning ecosystem that incorporates the natural environment into the education and living experience of each student. The opportunity to learn from the campus amenities, not just in them, is a foundational goal of the project and has been incorporated into the design.
Other key features and attributes include:
- the school is targeting LEED GOLD accreditation based on the most applicable LEED rating system version at the time of submitting the application to the Canada Green Building Council;
- the school will incorporate as many sustainability aspects and amenities as possible. Some examples already included in the design include rain-water collection, living walls/roofs, solar energy production capacity, and food-production capabilities (greenhouse, forest farm, apiaries);
- the school is targeting Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) Certified Gold status per the foundation’s rating system criteria and toward ensuring the entire campus is as accessible and engageable as possible;
- the school will include a child-care facility as an extension of Purcell Preschool + Daycare’s existing operations at our Meadowbrook School campus to provide child care for Purcell Collegiate staff and the Kimberley community and to provide learning opportunities for Purcell Collegiate students, particularly those interested in careers in education;
- the school will foster inclusivity and acceptance for all students regardless of nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, and/or disability and will incorporate design accommodations and enhancements with that in mind;
- the school will encourage and enable healthy living with physical and intellectual outlets and opportunities already included in the design;
- the school will highlight Ktunaxa language, culture, and history with design implements and operational participation currently under discussion with ʔaq̓am Community representatives;
- the school will provide integrated learning and engagement opportunities for community members including but not limited to after-school clubs and sports open to local public-school students, evening classes for adult community members, and publicly-accessible learning and multipurpose spaces for community activities, events and presentations; and
- the school will foster and support psychological well-being; Purcell Collegiate will be a happy, productive environment for living and learning.
PCI has chosen to locate Purcell Collegiate School in Kimberley for the express purpose of creating benefit for the local community and looks forward to extending and enhancing the opportunities it will produce to maximize its economic and social impact. PCS’s pioneering engagement model was designed to support and compliment the local public-school system. As such, the only local students who will attend PCS will be high-level athletes who would otherwise have to leave the community to attend sports academy programs in larger school districts or distant private schools. PCS will afford these students (and their families) the opportunity for them to remain at home. Local students will otherwise not be permitted to attend PCS ensuring enrolment numbers at Selkirk Secondary School and Mount Baker Secondary School are not negatively impacted. That said, students enrolled in both local public high schools will qualify to participate in PCS’s suite of after-school clubs and sports which will provide learning and training opportunities only found in large metropolitan areas. This unique engagement model enables and ensures both maximum benefit and minimum disruption at the local level while simultaneously enhancing the value proposition afforded to international students whose opportunity to live and learn in Canada will be extended beyond the cohort of students at Purcell Collegiate to include those with similar interests and goals in the other two local high schools.
Purcell Collegiate is not a traditional or conventional “private school.” It is a paradigm-shifting Group 4 independent school purpose-built to change the way education is offered and engaged in British Columbia. PCI’s partnership with the ʔaq̓am Community distinguishes the school as a learning opportunity for students and elevates it as a social impact incubator and economic development generator in support of the Truth and Reconciliation process and as a lighthouse project toward a decolonized future.