School district confirms Granisle’s project went over budget

Extra costs were mainly due to delays in construction, says Schools District 91.

In the story ‘Granisle school revitalization project complete’ published in the Lakes District News’ Oct. 28 issue, the revitalization project of Granisle’s Babine Elementary-Secondary School (BESS) was complete, but School District No. 91 (Nechako Lakes) had still not provided the final figures from the project.

According to Darlene Turner, Secretary Treasurer for School District 91, the school district needed to finalize their school budgets prior to working on finalizing costs from the revitalization project.

School District 91 has now released the final figures to Lakes District News.

The total cost of the project was $7,727,912 million, which is $452,418 over the projected budget.

Turner said the project went over its projected budget due primarily to shortages of trades labour and acquisition of materials.

“In particular, there was a delay in manufacturing the modular [classrooms]; delays unfortunately cost money.”

The ministry of education contributed $5,275,494 million toward the project and School District 91 contributed the remaining $2,452,418 million.

The revitalization project, which started in September 2013, included demolishing about 60 per cent of the school and replacing education space with five modern modular classrooms, which feature a bright, open design with high ceilings. The project also included renovating the library, the multipurpose area and kitchen.

The design and layout of the school is intended to support learning by including a variety of flexible learning environments from large open spaces to small one-on-one counseling rooms.

The revitalization project was officially completed on Oct. 23, 2015, over a year after its expected completion date – September 2014.

The kindergarten to grade 12 school opened its doors in 1967 to accommodate Granisle’s then rapidly growing population. At one point, the school had approximately 500 students.

Currently there are 33 students enrolled, although the revitalized school has a capacity of 95 students – 20 kindergarten, 50 elementary and 25 secondary students.

Given declining enrolment rates and the building’s deteriorating condition, newly designed modular classrooms were determined as the best solution to revitalize the school. According to the ministry of education, modular classrooms have a 40-year life span and are a more permanent solution to creating school space, compared to portables.

The revitalization project is part of the government’s $17-million modular school pilot program to renew aging infrastructures in rural B.C. To date, three aging schools have been updated or replaced through the modular school pilot program, which was announced in 2012.