Walnut Park Elementary School. (File photo)

Construction on new Walnut Park school pushed back to Summer 2020

The project was previously slated to begin this summer.

Construction on Walnut Park’s new building will have to wait another year.

At their June 18 board meeting SD54 vice board chair Les Kearns confirmed the Walnut Park Elementary School (WPES) rebuild would be pushed back.

“The project was to begin this summer but will now have to be delayed and building should start in the summer of 2020.”

READ MORE: New school for Walnut Park Elementary

Kearns explained there were a number of reasons behind the decision to push back the timeline, such as land at the south end of the project that has not completed compressing.

Project costs are also another factor.

As Kearns explained, the cost of the project is not in alignment with the ministry’s budget.

“The higher projected cost is compelling the capital department to go back to treasury to re-evaluate the overall project,” he said.

He added that delaying the project until the summer of 2020 will allow the district to initiate the tender process in January or February, which he said is the best time to get the lowest, competitive bids.

The extra time will also allow SD54 time to solidify some design space options around the school’s Neighbourhood Learning Centre and daycare area.

At the meeting the board also unanimously passed the district’s annual budget for the 2019-2020 school year.

READ MORE: SD54 passes 2019-2020 annual budget

WPES was built in 1967 and had the capacity to house approximately 415 students while in use.

In May 2018, education minister for the province Rob Fleming announced a new building would be built to the tune of approximately $28.5 million.

The province has committed up to $27.6 million for the project, with SD54 on the hook for the rest of the cash.

The new school will house approximately 440 elementary students.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

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