Monday , 2 August 2021
The demolition of the Lyle Victor Albert Centre in May, which has been cleared to build a new gymnasium at BCHS.

BCHS students to stay at C2 for rest of school year

Bonnyville Centralized High School students will stay put at the Centennial Centre for the rest of the school year instead of moving in the spring.

The plan was to have the Grade 9-12 students move back the school site in mid-April as the contractors would be close to completing construction, but the Northern Lights Public Schools board and senior administration decided it would be easier to wait and do the move after the school year was over.

That coupled with a project update after Christmas which showed steady progression in construction, but timelines not being as far along as anticipated, made the decision to wait easier.

“The students have been dealing with a lot. They relocated to the C2, then COVID hit and all the stuff that’s been going on with that disruption to learning, [and] learning online last year hasn’t been the ideal situation for those students,” said NLPS communications officer Nicole Garner.

“To move them back to a school that wasn’t completely finished, and that we wouldn’t be able to do everything we wanted to, it just didn’t seem like the right way to go with that,” said Garner.

BCHS operations moved to the Centennial Centre at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year in anticipation of construction beginning in the fall of 2019, but the contract wasn’t awarded officially until March 2020.

The classroom wing is slated to be done and fully functional by the mid-April timeframe, but the new office area for staff wouldn’t be complete, nor would there be gym change rooms yet.

Timelines still have the finished modernization wrapping up before the end of the 2020-21 school year, except for a new parking lot which could be done in the summer.

Northern Lights worked with Alberta Infrastructure and MLA David Hanson, who has been heavily involved in the meetings, to have the school board’s costs of staying at the Centennial Centre built into the project.

“While we didn’t necessarily think it was the best idea to have students back there at a not completed school, we didn’t necessarily have the funds to pay for them to be at the C2 either,” said Garner who thanked Hanson for his work on their behalf.

“It actually went really smoothly, especially once we made everyone aware of our concerns about the mental health impact of relocating mid-year.”

By June, students and staff at BCHS will have been at the C2 for two school years.

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.