Major construction projects underway in Cornerstone

They are on time and within budget.

Two major capital construction projects undertaken by the South East Cornerstone Public School Division are progressing according to plan said Andy Dobson, the division’s manager of facilities and transportation who spoke to the division’s board members during their Feb. 12 public meeting. A new Legacy Park Elementary School is going up in Weyburn as well as a new bus garage in the same city.

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Dobson also spent some time reviewing several other smaller projects that were completed, currently underway or in the planning stages as well as ongoing repair and maintenance situations within the division’s 37 school buildings and other facilities they own and operate.

Dobson said the Legacy Park Elementary School, the largest project at 7,741 square metres will contain 21st-century learning spaces with an open concept and an abundance of natural light and a curtain wall as well as 51 daycare spaces.

Shelley Toth, the division’s chief financial officer, said later, the total construction cost for Legacy Park will be $26 million with additional architect and furnishing costs to be added later.

The bus garage, mainly to be used for school bus repairs and deployment will be 100 by 120 feet in size and will come with a cost of just over $2.5 million, Toth said.

Dobson showed photos of Legacy Park progress with about 100 skilled trades workers on site, will be ready for occupancy by students in September 2021. He said the major construction completion date is near the end of March with subsequent finishing work to be completed by the end of June.

Dobson also showed photos and provided updated information on several other projects around the division including upgrades to the science labs in Midale Central School and 33 Central School in Fillmore plus home economics classroom updates in Rocanville and Radville.

Future major renovations will set sights on Arcola’s gymnasium, a portable classroom addition in Arcola, pending Education Ministry approval, as well as a portable for MacLeod Elementary School in Moosomin and demolition and upgrade at Maryfield.

A home economics and library room swap has been proposed for McNaughton High School in Moosomin to enhance commercial cooking programming.

The 2019-20 facilities sector contained a $2.66 million budget for preventative maintenance projects, Dobson said. Most of that money was spent on roof repairs in Lampman, Estevan (Estevan Comprehensive School), and Moosomin.

The plan for the 2020-21 school year will again involve roof repairs and air exchange systems as well as division-wide facilities repairs and several electrical replacement projects plus portable classroom installations or removals within a $3 million budget.

Plans are also in place for 2021-22 at a proposed cost of about $3.2 million Dobson said.

The facilities and transportation manager provided updates on caretaking and transportation advancements. He said that in the past few years, attention had been placed on playground equipment. He also noted safety management plans “have received a great buy-in from staff and bus drivers.” He and others had focused on safety management in an earlier report, outlining the two-phase system and its current status that was moving forward according to plans.

On the positive or success side of the portfolio, Dobson said the five-year maintenance program had realized a 46 per cent reduction in roof leaks and a 62 per cent reduction in heating system failures. The other positive aspects included staff conforming to on-line leaves, positive department restructuring with qualified staff on board and the two aforementioned capital projects that were quickly approaching successful completion.

The challenges, he said, remain the same as they had been the year before and that was a growing need to replace an aging workforce that requires substitute caretakers and bus drivers plus an aging bus fleet that requires a healthy operating budget and mechanical technicians to keep them operational.

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