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St. John Community School childcare spaces to open March 4

The new daycare spaces at St. John Community School will be ready to officially open on Monday, March 4.

The daycare spaces are a partnership between the Prince Albert Catholic School and the Prince Albert Childcare Cooperative Association. PA Catholic Education Director Lorel Trumier said they were pleased with the project.

“The facility looks great and I think it's a lovely environment for children to be in,” Trumier said. “It just makes sense when it's within the school if they have that natural progression (from childcare) to school, so we're pleased about that.” The cooperative took possession on Feb. 14 after completion of renovations to one wing of the school and the kitchen.

Trumier told trustees at Monday’s board meeting that the project had very few change orders after it was completed.

“It was a big project for sure, lots of things to attend to,” she said. “When you're inputting a daycare, they need to have their own HVAC units and they have to have their own door entries and those kinds of things. They have to have a certain level of window, so (it was) a big project, but it's really turned out so nicely.”

Director Jodene Demorest brought forward the original plan to create a partnership for a Ministry of Education approved childcare in St. John. The daycare is a 50-space licenced capacity.

"I know that Jodene Demorest from PA Childcare would say the same, so we're pretty pumped about that activity and that work being started in terms of getting children into the daycare and the before and after school program,” Trumier said.

The project, along with childcare spaces at St. Michael Community School, began in 2022.

The school division signed the agreement with the cooperative on June 15, 2022.

The tender for St. John was released to SaskTenders in March, 2023. The project was the work of RNF Contractors and AODBT. Communication of the opening will be done using Edsby.

The daycare at St. Michael opened in August 2022. Before and after school age programs will also be available.

“Now there are opportunities for before and after school program and I think that’s the other benefit that the parents will see at St. John,” Trumier said. “Now there are opportunities for before and after school.”

The item was one of many on the agenda involving construction projects in the division.

“We have been very busy with our projects and there has been a lot on our plates in that regard. We are finally seeing the fruits of that work,” Trumier said.

Inquires can be made directly to the Prince Albert Childcare Cooperative Association.

A proposed infrastructure upgrade project for St. John Community School is nearing the final planning stages before construction begins.

According to a report from the Prince Albert Catholic School Division board meeting on Monday, the drawings and design by AODBT is near completion. Prince Albert Catholic School Division Executive Director Lorel Trumier said the drawings should be completed by March 8, allowing them to start construction this spring.

“We've got the contractor lined up, we've got the mechanical lined up, we've got all the pieces lined up,” she said. “The big planning part is done and now they will begin the actual work in terms of the construction.”

The finals steps for budgeting and instruction to RNF Contractors are expected to be completed prior to April 1. The contractor is expected to mobilize after April 1. The projected date of completion is dependent on availability of sub-trades.

"It is an interesting time to do work in Saskatchewan,” Trumier said. “There are all kinds of supply chain issues still occurring and there are still some high areas of demand in the trades. We are now lined up with all the pieces and looking forward to the work.”

Trumier said the majority of the work will be done in the summer months. The school just saws a project completed on new daycare spaces and this project will start soon after.

“They will probably start … putting up the fence around their work area at the school here shortly,” Trumier said.

“They just took it down from the daycare project and they will be putting it up here shortly to get started on the remainder of the school.”

Both projects are collaborations with AODBT and RNF Contractors.

“We are excited,” Trumier said. “When you get a whole roof redone and repaired, those dollars are big dollars. We couldn't have done it without this capital project that was granted to us, we're pretty pleased about that.”

Some highlights of the project included new roofing on the portable wings of the school, new HVAC and mechanical boiler system, bathrooms, flooring, boot room/racks, shelving, library modernization, windows replacement, water management including eaves and concrete, brick repair and painting the interior of the school.

Trumier thanked the Ministry of Education for selecting the project under the 2022 intake for minor capital renewal projects.

“We wouldn't have been able to do it without these dollars, so the minor capital project that we were granted is going to be put to good work and good use,” she said. “We're going to basically have a school that will extend its life considerably.”

The division was notified in early June, 2023 that the Ministry of Education has approved proceeding with the renovations. This is the second year for the program. The budget has been approved for $2,100,000.

The 2022-2023 Annual Report for the Prince Albert Catholic School Division is expected to be tabled in the legislature.

The tabling had been delayed after a minor dispute over the audited financial statements wherein the Ministry and the division’s auditor did not agree on the year that $800,000 for the St. John Community School Minor Capital Project should land.

"We know that's a process item and it's gone through all of the approvals that are necessary,” Trumier said. “Now, the tabling will occur in the near future.”

According to a memo to the board at their regular meeting on Monday, the tabling will occur soon and. The division will be notified when it does.

The province allocated $2.1 million last June for renovations at St. John Community School. The Division received the first payment of $800,000 in early December, but recorded the funds as part of their 2022-23 budget year at the request of the province. However, auditors MNP disputed the report, telling the division those funds should be reported in the 2023-24 statement.

The division tapped MNP to audit their finances as part of creating an annual report. During the audit, MNP disputed where the money was being reported.

After the audited finances were approved the division could approve and submit their 2022-2023 Annual Report to the province.

michael.oleksyn@paherald.sk.ca

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