The Anglophone East District Education Council agreed on their annual list of major and minor capital projects to send to the provincial government for approval.
Director of Finance and Administration Aubrey Kirkpatrick says all 10 projects, totalling $2,951,000 on the minor capital list are necessary, but they still have to be ranked.
“How does a council choose between wheelchair accessiblity, life safety systems, and heating and ventilation, that, you know, you can’t operate a school when there’s no heat,” says Kirkpatrick. “It all needs to be done.”
The deferred maintenance list has a total of 434 projects on it, totalling $57,906,600.
Kirkpatrick says they get between $1.8 and $2 million annually for projects on that list, and they are slowly losing ground as they add items to the list faster than they can remove them.
“And that’s one of the reasons why, as staff, we put forward the ideas of consolidating old schools, and building three into one, and that way you’re getting rid of your old inventory and you’re gonna have newer schools, and that’ll reduce this capital list,” says Kirkpatrick.
He also wanted to make it clear Anglophone East is fundamentally no different than every other school district across the country, because we are still largely using schools built in the 1950s and 1960s to accommodate the Baby Boomer generation.
“I think government over the last number of years have been increasing the capital spend, but like you heard one of our councillors say, we have a short window to get work done,” says Kirkpatrick. “Let’s say we got $10 million this year, could we actually get all that work done in a two month window in several schools?”
He answers his own question with “I don’t know” but added it would be an interesting exercise for the district to undertake.
Meanwhile, major capital projects under consideration include a new school to replace Salisbury Elementary, a midlife upgrade for Riverview High School, and the consolidation of Sunny Brae, Forest Glen, and Mountainview schools.