Catholic Division rejected for relocatable classrooms for St. Mary

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division will continue to apply for portable classrooms for Ecole St. Mary High School after their most recent application was rejected.

The division received notice from the Ministry on Feb. 14 that they had been denied. The division applied for the spaces because Ecole St. Mary is a dual track high school.

“I know that we are not growing necessarily at the same rate as Saskatoon and Regina and we certainly understand that some of those portables have to be assigned there,” director of education Lorel Trumier said.

“We just know that the pressure of running a dual track high school on our spaces is an issue and we are always working around it. We need a couple of portables and perhaps next year will be our year.”

According to the province, the majority of this funding was allocated to Regina and Saskatoon, the two cities where the province is experiencing the fastest population growth. Other communities included are Humboldt, Lloydminster, Lumsden, Pilot Butte, Warman and Weyburn. The division will persist in applying, according to Trumier.

This is the third consecutive year the board has submitted a request for relocatable classrooms. Without the new classrooms, reads a board memo, the school may struggle to address future student population levels. They have applied before but those three were consecutive

"This is our fifth or sixth year for sure that we apply for additional space at St. Mary and (if) we want to achieve that goal, we need more space,” Trumier said.

Dual track schools require spaces for both English and French Immersion students at each level.

“Some of it's the challenges of running a dual track school are when you need two classrooms—one for French language arts and you need one for English language arts,” Trumier explained. “Even though the students are in Grade 9, you can't combine those two Grade 9 groups that are taking two different languages.”

She explained that the lack of relocatable classrooms does put pressure on the school.

“However, we run a really strong program. I don't think it's going to compromise it this coming year, but we will put it on the docket again for next year and request the portables,” she said.

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division has found contractors for two projects under their Preventative Maintenance and Renewal (PMR) program that were previously approved by the board of education.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Greg McEwen updated the board at their regular meeting on Monday. McEwen said contractors had been found for projects at Ecole St. Mary High School and Ecole Holy Cross.

"There is a lot of work put into preparing those materials, and I really need to applaud my facilities manager Shawn Blechinger on his preparation and hard work of getting that organised and set up, “Trumier said. “He's done a great job. It's his first year on the job with us and he's done a fantastic job.”

She explained that all of the projects that found contractors would help to keep facilities in the division in their best condition.

The project at Ecole Holy Cross if for an upgrade of fire alarms and emergency lighting system. Project consultant PWA Engineering put the project out to tender on Feb. 1 and it closed on Feb. 15. Administration recommended that Flyer Electric be approved and the board approved the contractor on Monday.

The project at Ecole St. Mary was a replacement of air handling systems. Project consultant HDA Engineering put that project out to tender on Jan. 26 and the tenders closed on Feb. 15.

Administration recommended that Thorpe Brothers be approved and the board approved the contractor on Monday.

Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald