Facility Renewal | Capital Projects
Click on the interactive PDF to tour and learn about Prairie Valley's capital projects.
Capital Planning Process
Background | 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.
Planning | Requests for individual capital projects are first approved by the Board of Education and then submitted to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry places each project request into one of four categories:
Urgent Health and Safety
Critical Space Shortage (110% utilization and above)
Structural Repair and Building Restoration
Non Critical Building Restoration and Space Shortages
Within each category, project requests are assessed and ranked in priority order on the Provincial Major Capital Request List. The Ministry updates the complete list annually and issues project approvals at various points during the year, working within the Ministry’s annual K-12 capital budget allocation.
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.
Funding | In practice, 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:
Project specific Ministry funding consists of 65% in grant funding with the remaining 35% borrowed by the school division (incremental Ministry funding is provided to the school division each year for 20 years to cover the principle and interest of the loan). Project specific funding is typically available only for the highest priority projects in category 1 - Urgent Health and Safety or Category 2 - Critical Space Shortage (110% utilization and above). 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 (110%) 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.