The kids may have been off having summer fun with their friends and family in July and August, but that doesn’t mean activity stopped in our district’s schools.
Summer is when those facilities get their facelifts and upgrades.
School District 72 (SD72) Operations Manager Steve Woods made a presentation to the board of trustees on Tuesday night outlining some of that activity – and what it cost.
The presentation was limited to projects that cost more than $50,000, and of those, the largest by far was the work that was done at Robron, where four roof sections were replaced and two more were repaired, at a total cost to the district of $317,230.
“That represents about 20 per cent of the total roof area (of the facility), and the rest of the roof areas are all of a similar age and in a similar state,” Woods said. “So I guess I’m sending a signal that down the road, well, we’ve got 80 per cent of that roof to go,” inferring that Robron’s roof alone will soon be requiring well over $1-million in repairs and replacement work.
When asked to address why it seems that there is always work being done on various roofs, at huge cost to the district, Woods acknowledged that it’s just how things work in building maintenance. With that many facilities of various ages and in various conditions, there will essentially always be a roof somewhere in the district that needs repair or replacement.
“It just seems like such a horrendous annual cost,” said Trustee Ted Foster.
“It does,” replied Woods. “We spend around $400,000 a year, just trying to sustain what we’ve got,” he said, which equates to about one third of their budget spent just on roof repairs.
Woods was also asked if there might be a better way to deal with roofing issues so that the district is not just constantly shelling out money repairing them.
Woods said the district gets “20 to 25 years out of one of these, no problem. You can buy a 50-year roof, but is that cost worth the investment? That’s a really tough call. I think we’re making the right decision, but we can look at other types (of roofs),” he said, if that’s a decision the board would like to make in the future.
Another major expenditure over the summer were boiler replacements in both Cedar – which needed five boilers replaced at a cost of approximately $113,000 – and Southgate – which needed three boilers replaced at a cost of $55,200.
“They were at the end of their lives, and we had to move on,” Woods told the board. “What we do, though, is we look at this as an opportunity to gain some energy efficiencies.”
The condensing boilers replacing the old ones, Woods said, “are high-efficiency and are eligible for grants from Fortis BC as well as funding through the Carbon Neutral Capital Program (CNCP),” saving the district money on the replacements. The CNCP rebate for the Cedar boilers, for example, was $50,000.
The nine modular buildings in use district-wide all needed work done on them this past summer, as well at a cost of, “close to $50,000,” but there weren’t funds available to do the job completely, “so that’s just a patch.
“That’ll have to last us a couple of years until we can find some more money (for it).”
The district also did work on the lower parking lot at Carihi High over the summer at a cost of $70,000.
“It started out with a life cycle repaving process that we just had to do,” Woods told the board, due to the state of the lot itself.
But over the last school year, there was also a need established to create a proper loading zone for the special needs bus, so some major landscaping work needed to be done to flatten an area so that wheelchair lifts and ramps could work properly.
Woods told the board he’s been receiving numerous messages of support from different community organizations praising the work, which greatly improves Carihi’s accessibility, and he’s happy the work that was done there is being recognized for its benefit to students.