BCHS Approved for Modernization

Board confident modernization will address school needs.

The Northern Lights Public Schools Board of Trustees is thrilled that a modernization of Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS) included on the list of new school building projects announced by the Provincial Government on Tuesday (March 21).

“With all of the growth that has been occurring in Alberta and the high demand for schools and modernizations, Northern Lights is very grateful to have been included in this year’s capital announcements,” said Board Chair Mandi Skogen. “We are very excited about the programming opportunities that will be available for students once the school is modernized.”

A replacement school for BCHS has been the top capital priority on the Board’s Three-Year Capital Plan since it received approval for a replacement school for Cold Lake Elementary School in January, 2014. Earlier this year, the Board participated in a Value Scoping session with Alberta Education and local stakeholders to evaluate the project and the available options. That session resulted in a recommendation that a modernization of the existing facility, rather than construction of a new school, would be adequate to address programming needs.

“There are certainly benefits to building a new school versus renovating an existing facility, however, we are cognizant of the current financial constraints that exist and we are confident that a modernization at BCHS will address our needs,” said Skogen.

The Board reviewed its Three-Year Capital Plan at its board meeting yesterday (March 22). Since the BCHS project is going ahead, it was removed from the plan and the existing priorities all moved up one spot. A modernization at Ecole Plamondon is now the Board’s top overall capital priority on its Three- Year Capital Plan, followed by a new elementary school for Lac La Biche, a new school for Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, and a modernization at Iron River School.

“We will continue to advocate for the infrastructure projects included in our capital plans,” said Skogen. “It is important that we have facilities in all of our communities that are able to provide our students with the learning opportunities they need to excel.”