BY RYAN WELLICOME
A value scoping is to be conducted by the Alberta government at Father Lacombe Catholic School on Sept. 28th and 29th.
The value scoping will assess the school’s need for structural, mechanical, electrical and aesthetic improvement of its facilities in order to bring the building up to date.
“The need for modernization is immediate because it is a very aged building and therefore is a top priority for STAR Catholic,” said STAR Catholic Board of Trustees Chair Thalia Hibbs.
The assessment is to be conducted by Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure to allow the revitalization project to move forward.
“When dealing with a modernization project in particular, obviously there is expertise that a school division will not have so that is why we call in Alberta Education and Alberta Infrastructure,” said Hibbs.
Hibbs said the value scoping will help the STAR Catholic Schools board to secure funding from the government and determine their next move on the project. “We submit the capital plans to the government because we rely on Alberta Education to decide that, ‘Yes this is a project that is needed and that we are going to provide the funding for’,” she said.
Father Lacombe Catholic School was originally built in the 1950s with additions to the original structure having been made later on.
Father Lacombe principal Denis Côté said that there are a number of aspects of the school that can be improved.
“We have quite a few issues here,” said Côté. “When the school was purchased by our division, they did upgrade it to meet the safety standards, but that was eleven years ago. Standards increase each year.”
The school has a second floor that is only accessible by stairs. Côté wishes to see elevators or lifts put in for students who may have limited mobility.
During Côté’s tenure as principal, he said they have yet to accommodate a student with limited mobility but in the event that they do, the student must be able to access the second floor as some classrooms and the library are located there.
Also, Côté noted that the second floor lacks any washroom facilities and students must go to the first floor to access any.
“Even for the public that use our building on the weekends there is no access through a lift or an elevator to get up there,” he said. Côté said that the doors, windows and lighting are, in many cases, original and require replacement.
“We’ve upgraded some of the lighting in the office area because it was just getting so bad,” he said.
Additionally, the flooring is beginning to lift and cause safety hazards. Safety is a top priority for Côté, he added.
“I’m big on safety, just ask my staff. I always caution them,” he said. “There’s lots of little things that you might overlook when you walk through the building but, as the administrator, I see it every day.”