Tuesday , 11 May 2021

BCHS modernization begins three years after provincial approval

Work has begun on the modernization of Bonnyville Centralized High School after months of delays.

Jen-Col Construction out of Acheson won the bid for the job, although months ago local politicians were upset that local construction companies were shut out from putting a price on the tender.

They mobilized on site last week putting up barricades around the school.

“We’re just happy that it’s starting right now. Once it’s underway, then hopefully everything goes smoothly and there aren’t any delays as we move along with the project,” said Nicole Garner, Northern Lights Public Schools communications.

“The plan is to start doing some demolition in about seven to 10 days.

“Over the next couple of weeks, we could expect to see some changes there. It looks like maybe taking stucco off the outside of the school and working on the demolition of the Lyle Victor.”

The biggest piece of the school modernization is a new, high-school sized gym where the Lyle Victor currently stands, while shifting the front entrance of the building to face the east side.

Otherwise, the work will be behind the scenes and changes to some classrooms as the school moves toward the east side of the building.

“The main reason that the students were moved out of the school is the redoing of all the mechanical systems. Right now, there are three mechanical rooms for the school, and we’re changing things so that everything is in one mechanical room,” said Garner.

“Some areas that are classrooms now won’t be classrooms and other areas will be…but the main thing is the gym and then changing the office from where it is now.”

Garner did not estimate a timeline of when the project could be completed.

With the biggest question, the start time of the project now solved, one now lingers: will the project face setbacks with the current COVID-19 situation?

“We don’t know what availability of labour is going to look like. If people are ill. We don’t know,” said Garner.

“Everyone’s going to want to meet the timelines. And the government’s obviously committed to getting things under construction and getting people to work as well. So hopefully, everything goes smoothly and we don’t experience any delays beyond what I think we typically expect on a project.”

BCHS was approved for modernization in early 2017.

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.