Prairie Valley has recently completed six major facility capital projects.
Emerald Ridge Elementary School - Construction began on this brand new school in fall 2012 and was completed by the September 2014 first day of school.
Lumsden Elementary School Addition - Construction began in January, 2013 with project completion by September 2014. The upgraded facility is home to a new 51 space licensed child care centre, a larger gym and new gym services area, a performing arts centre, an expanded science lab, and a Learning Street that serves as a gathering place for students.
Education Centre Expansion and Renovation - The project accommodates all central functions in a new Prairie Valley Education Centre, including a Professional Development Centre, a professional library, secure information technology server space, central shipping and receiving and safe, efficient workspace for Division Office staff.
Kipling School Consolidation and Modernization - Construction on Phase 1 began in late August 2011 and is now complete, consisting of a new and renovated elementary classroom wing and closure of the old primary building across the street from the main school. Phase 2 construction is also complete and includes construction of a servery, administrative offices, band/arts/multi-purpose space and health and safety upgrades.
Vibank School Modernization - Construction on Phase 1 began in June, 2011 and is now complete, consisting of change room upgrades, a new, single storey elementary classroom wing and health and safety upgrades. Phase 2 construction is also complete and includes a new library, relocated administrative offices and renovations to the high school wing and health and safety upgrades.
Balcarres Community School Consolidation and Modernization - A new main entrance, administration office, servery and cultural room have been completed as part of the final phase of a four phase consolidation/modernization/expansion project which started in 2006 as a result of the closure of the old primary building due to health and safety concerns. In addition, six sections of roof will be repaired and duct work will be replaced and an accessible washroom will be added.
Capital Planning Work Underway
In addition to the capital projects underway, planning work continues on other schools to ensure continued progress on our capital plan. As a result of anticipated student population growth along the Highway One corridor a Stage One Report was submitted to the Ministry of Education. Greenall High School right sizing and modernization as well as a new high school south of Highway 1 in the White City/Emerald Park area are part of this plan.
Click here to access the Highway One corridor information
A Stage One Study has been completed and submitted to the Ministry of Education analyzing the current state of facilities at Grenfell High Community School and Grenfell Elementary Community School.
Capital Planning in Prairie Valley
Prairie Valley School Division inherited a complex mix of building and infrastructure conditions upon amalgamation in 2006. Our focus over the past several years has been to achieve equitable learning opportunities for all of our students, wherever they live, working within the resources available to us.
The Division has approached capital work in a planned way, beginning with a long term Strategic Facilities Plan completed in 2009. The report assessed all buildings and prioritized each based on building conditions, enrolment projections and programming needs. To make the work manageable, the report grouped schools into one of four five-year groupings for renewal of all buildings over a 20 year period. This report has formed the basis for our capital work over the past several years.
Click here to access our long term Strategic Facilities Plan
Capital Project Priorization
Requests for individual capital projects are first approved by the Board of Education and then submitted to the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry updates a Top 10 list annually and issues project approvals at various points during the year, working within the Ministry’s annual K-12 capital budget allocation. The Ministry's planning and priorization process is currently under review and takes into consideration the following criteria:
- Health and Safety (site, foundation, floors/walls, other, utilization>140% and utilization>160%). One point is allocated for Health and Safety if over 140% Utilization and two points are allocated for Health and Safety if over 160% Utilization.
- Efficiency (school consolidations; projected utilization three years out and a premium for reducing overall space usage)
- Building Condition (blended service life)
Capital Project Process
The process of designing and building a new school or a major renovation to an existing school is a shared responsibility between the school division and the Ministry of Education. Based on the project rankings within the Provincial Major Capital Request List, the Ministry reviews requests and approves projects for Stage 1 planning, which kicks off the facility planning process.
The key steps in the process are outlined below (Approval from the Ministry is required at each step in the process in order to proceed to the next step).
Stage 1 Plan – a high level analysis of enrolments, programs, potential sites and estimated costs. This information is used to further refine the Ministry’s project rankings.
Schematic Design Phase – establishes the general scope, conceptual design, scale and relationships among the components of the project. The objective is to explore the most promising design solutions to arrive at a clearly defined, feasible concept.
Design Development Phase - expands upon the approved Schematic Design by preparing more detailed drawings illustrating all aspects of the proposed design including floor plans, major materials, room finishes and building code compliance.
Construction Drawings – the detailed working drawings and specifications that will be used to establish construction costs through a competitive public tender and build the project. The Ministry reviews the drawings at the 33%, 66% and 99% completion stages.
Building Tender and Construction – involves actual construction of the building under the management of a general contractor as determined by a public tender and supervision from the project architect and the school division.
Capital work in school divisions is a mix of targeted project funding and allocation from within the overall budget and subject to Ministry of Education approval. There are two potential sources of funding for major capital projects in school divisions:
As of March, 2015 project specific Ministry funding now consists of 100% grant funding and is typically available only for the highest priority projects. Funding for new school construction is always from project-specific capital grants due to the size and scope of these projects.
- Annual funding provided to school divisions by the Ministry is largely unconditional and may be allocated among operating and capital types of expense, managing within the approved bottom line. Operating and capital budget allocations vary among school divisions depending on local circumstances and priorities. School division budgets are prepared annually and must be approved by the Ministry of Education. Most of Prairie Valley’s rural schools do not reach the overcrowding (140%) threshold set by the Ministry, therefore the financial responsibility for modernizing these schools - to address physical deterioration, meet current building codes for life safety systems and provide a functional and safe learning environment for staff and students - rests with the school division.