Peace River School Division approves $750,000 debenture to renovate office

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A $750,000 debenture has been approved by Peace River School Division to complete renovations and improvements to the Division’s central office in Grimshaw.

At its regular meeting April 18, the board approved the debenture, states a PRSD news release dated April 19.

Trustee Lori Leitch says the upgrades are needed.

“I support the continued improvement of this building,” says Leitch, who represents Grimshaw and rural Fairview (Ward 5).

“We can curse the size of it, but I think the size also produces opportunity.

“I think we have proved that by bringing in things like our alternative education program and the North Peace Commercial Driving Academy.

“And I think we still have opportunities to grow.”

Secretary-treasurer Rhonda Freeman says much work is needed to improve the building and the Division has been debt-free since 2017.

“However, I do feel it is fiscally responsible for the board to use a debenture as a mechanism to do what needs to be done,” Freeman says.

“School divisions don’t have a mechanism for earning, which is why we need to utilize debentures.”

She recommended the board proceed with an application for a debenture for about $750,000 with the balance of the costs covered by the proportionate capital reserves from system administration, transportation, as well as operations and maintenance.

Freeman told the board that when the central office relocated to Grimshaw from Peace River in July 2019, renovations to the building did not include any changes or upgrades to the heating and cooling systems in the building.

As a result of renovations and the age of the current system, several spaces in the building are frequently either quite uncomfortably warm or uncomfortably cold with no ability for staff to control the temperatures.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning project proposed by Freeman would change the outdated pneumatic valve controls to electronic controls and create zones within the building that would allow staff to better control temperatures in their office spaces with individual thermostats.

Freeman says the project would also add air conditioning units and cooling coils and upgrade furnaces in the area of the building not controlled by the boiler system.

Existing boilers are not required to be replaced.

Etimated cost of that project is $450,000.

Freeman also informed the board the need to resurface the north wing on the building estimated at $500,000.

Since 2019, several sections of the roof have been resurfaced and the north wing is the only remaining section requiring the work.

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