Extra seminars may be added to accommodate higher-than-expected demand from people interested in working as correctional officers at the new jail near Oliver.
B.C. Corrections staged two-hour orientation sessions in four communities throughout the region earlier this month to provide people with information about what the 240 guards expected to work at the jail may encounter on the job.
A total of 290 people turned out to those meetings, B.C. Corrections spokeswoman Cindy Rose said in a statement.
Longer two – or three-day readiness sessions, which are now full, began last week and continue into November with just over 200 people registered or attending, she continued.
“Due to popularity, B.C. Corrections is considering holding additional sessions to keep up with the demand,” Rose said.
Meanwhile, construction activity is now underway at the jail site in the Senkulmen Business Park just north of Oliver.
“We’ve been really making great progress,” said Richard Burley, vice-president of project delivery for Plenary Justice, one of the companies in the consortium of private-sector partners that will design, build, finance and maintain the $193-million jail.
Burley said construction workers have begun pouring footings and installing in-ground services in preparation for the arrival in January of pre-cast concrete pods and walls that will be trucked to Oliver and make up the shell of the 378-cell prison.
“Once they come on site it’ll go up really quickly,” he said.
The cells are being poured in Washington State, while the walls are being produced in Penticton, according to Burley, who added there are approximately 60 people working at the site each day, and another 20 doing pre-fabrication work off-site.
Plenary Justice is under contract to deliver the completed jail to the B.C. government by fall 2016, and Burley said he has “absolutely no concerns at all about the schedule.”