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School renovations moving forward

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Taber Times

By Nikki Jamieson
Taber Times

Activity over the D.A. Ferguson/W.R. Myers modernization has resumed as the question of where to put students arises.

During their regular April 25 meeting, the Horizon School Board discussed where to put students while construction was occurring on the D.A. Ferguson portion of the building.

“As you’re aware, we’re moving forward with the modernization of D.A. Ferguson, Myers — mostly D.A. Ferguson,” said Bruce Francis, board member. “In the process of being able to do that, decanting needs to take place.”

In construction terms, decanting refers to moving people somewhere else while construction is taking place on a building. With the D.A./Myers modernization, the majority of work will take place on the D.A. side, and the plan is to move students to the other side of the building with decanting walls put up to separate the students and staff from construction.

The modernization is an Alberta Infrastructure project, and AI is paying for it. However, the budgeted amount for the modernization does not include decanting costs said Francis, or if it does include decanting costs, it would take away from the actual project. Francis proposed that the board set aside money for decanting, much like they did with Warner School when it was undergoing modernization, to the tune of $80,000.

“There’s decanting or building of classrooms or building temporary walls to move students to do the project at D.A. Ferguson, and then there’s the decanting of moving them back in and getting rid of the temporary walls,” said Francis, cautioning the board that it might cost more, although the extra may come out of the project’s contingency fund.

One unexpected news about the construction is that the three-storey 1949 wing of Myers will be staying up during phase one of construction. In fact, according to HSD superintendent Wilco Tymensen, there has really been no word from Alberta Infrastructure on when that wing has to come down.

“The three-storey was supposed to be coming down on that project, and there’s been a change in staffing as well, on both the Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure and also with the authority at the jurisdiction,” said Tymensen. “It’s an Alberta Infrastructure managed project, and they’ve gone back and had a conversation with the authority at the jurisdiction, and of course, there’s been a change in interpretation of the building code. And so phase one does not have to see that three-storey coming down.”

Tymenson said that they intend to move everyone out of the D.A. Ferguson side, and during the summer, the building will be under construction, with extra walls potentially in the library and the two-storey portion of the building. By the end of the 2017/18 school year, the hope is to move back into the D.A. portion, with the two-storey undergoing mechanical and electric upgrades.
Unfortunately, Tymenson says that there “probably won’t be access” to the D.A. gym and no access “potentially” to the Myers gym.

“We’re not sure what that timeline looks like, but certainly, there’s implications there for athletics and extra circulars and so on, to look at.”

The board approved the $80,000 in funding for the decanting.

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