Monday , 20 September 2021

Update on BCHS modernization

Northern Lights Public Schools hosted an open house for parents with students at Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS) to update families on the modernization plans.

The modernization project is expected to begin in the next few months and carry through the next school term.

Students entering grade 9 for the 2019-2020 season will be taught from the Centennial Centre. The remaining student body will be taught from BCHS.

Parents wanting more information are asked to visit BCHS online.

The school released a statement to parents that more information will soon be available. “We will also be creating a section on our website that includes information about the project as well as regular updates and answers to frequently asked questions. If, at any time, you have questions about the project and our plans, please contact Principal Corey Baker.”

The project is being managed by Alberta Infrastructure, not Northern Lights Public Schools. “NLPS is an invited party to the process, which means we can help inform the decisions that are made, but we do not have the authority to direct any part of the process,” explained the school.

Alberta Education determines the budget, and Alberta Infrastructure manages the project, which includes the design, issues the tender, and works with the contractor to determine the timelines and phasing of the project.

“The information we are sharing is the most up-to-date information we have, but it is possible some details may change. If they do, we will make sure everyone is informed in a timely manner,” stated the school.

The Project

  • The modernization of BCHS includes upgrades to the building envelope, mechanical systems and classrooms, as well as a large new gym (with an NBA-sized basketball court), new learning commons with a fireplace, new cosmetology room, a kitchen so we can offer foods programming, better student parking, and relocating the school’s entrance and administration offices.

  • Floor plans and drawings of what the school will look like once construction is completed are available for viewing at the school.


  • At this time, construction is anticipated to begin over the summer. Generally, these projects take two years, and sometimes slightly longer than that. Modernizations can be quite challenging as provisions need to be made for programming to continue for students while construction is underway.

  • To accelerate the project, we have agreed to relocate all of our students to the Centennial Centre for Semester I next year. The exact phasing of the project will be determined by the contractor in consultation with Alberta Infrastructure, but we expect that relocating students will allow construction to proceed more rapidly, particularly on parts of the project that will be more difficult to do while students are in the building, such as relocating the mechanical room and moving the stairs at the north end of the school.

Relocating to the C2

  • At all times during the project, student safety will be our top priority. That is one of the reasons we have committed significant resources to relocate students and staff to the C2 next year.

  • We are also very excited to have our students at the C2 as we will be able to take advantage of the amenities to enhance the learning opportunities we can offer to students. For instance, at 2 p.m. each day all of our Grade 9 students will start their options classes, and because we are in the C2 we will be able to use the field house, climbing wall, arenas, weight room, and pottery studio to offer options we aren’t currently able to offer at BCHS. We will be sharing more specifics on what we will be offering over the next few weeks. We will also be offering classes in mechanics, rocketry, and electronics.

  • We have entered into a lease with the C2 beginning in August. We will be creating classrooms in the Agriplex and will also be using the existing C2 classrooms that are located on the main floor of the centre. We will not be using the second floor classrooms.

  • We will need to adjust the school’s hours of operation to accommodate the C2’s schedule. This means the school day will end at 3:15 p.m. As a results, buses will drop high school students off at the C2 in the morning first, before proceeding to the other schools, and BCHS students will be be picked up first in the afternoon.

  • To help students transition to the C2 next year, we will be holding orientation sessions for all students, not just our Grade 9’s, prior to school starting. We will share more details closer to the start of the new school year.

Future Updates

  • Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing more information about some of the exciting programming opportunities we will have for students to take part in next year. These will be shared with you by email.

  • We will also share updates with you as the project progresses. In addition to sending you emails, we are also creating a page on our website that will include details about the project, any updates that we share, and answers to any frequently asked questions that we receive.

If you have any questions at any time during the project, please feel free to contact school administration and we will do our best to answer them or to get answers from the contractor and/or Alberta Infrastructure. We will also make an effort to share the answers with all parents, as they may have similar questions or concerns.

About Jena Colbourne