Saturday , 23 October 2021

NLPS disappointed with BCHS modernization delays, may stay at C2 next year if needed

Northern Lights Public Schools said they are disappointed with the delays to the Bonnyville Centralized High School modernization project and will explore staying at the Centennial Centre next school year if delays persist.

In a letter sent to parents, NLPS Board Chair Arlene Hrynyk thanked parents for their patience surrounding the confusion on BCHS construction timelines, while adding how the board could respond if delays continue.

“If progress on the project continues to experience delays, one option we will be exploring is the possibility of extending the relocation period beyond this year,” Hrynyk wrote.

“This will include asking Alberta Infrastructure to cover the costs of the relocation above and beyond what has been allocated for the modernization of the school. We do not want the scope of the work being done at the school to be reduced due to relocation costs.”

The project has gone to tender, but the contractor won’t begin work on-site until March, said Diane Carter, press secretary for Alberta Infrastructure in December.

Northern Lights moved students in August to the Centennial Centre to ease construction timelines, spending almost $200,000 by the end of the semester in January to relocate, confirmed Nicole Garner, communications officer for NLPS.

At that time, expectations were to begin construction in late fall of 2019.

Costs of relocating to the C2 for the winter semester are covered by the Ministry of Infrastructure, said Garner, and the board will advocate for the same if work goes into the 2020-21 school year.

“The discussion would be if we are there longer than anticipated, is Alberta Infrastructure going to cover those costs? And are those costs going to come out of what’s been allotted for the project – which will then reduce the scope of the work in a modernization – or will it be over and above that?” said Garner.

“The board will be advocating for it to be over and above that, instead of coming off of the top of the project.”

The NLPS board discussed their frustrations at the December 13th board meeting with MLA David Hanson.

“We are appreciative of the work Mr. Hanson has been doing to move this project forward and his commitment to advocate on our behalf for relocation costs to be covered separately from the overall project. We are hopeful that by working together there will be a positive resolution to this issue,” wrote Hrynyk.

“We want you to know that we share your concern and frustration with the way this project has unfolded. Moving this project forward is one of our top priorities and we will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure the project proceeds and that, once completed, it meets the needs of our students and community.”

The tender is set to be awarded January 16.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.