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LTIS remains top priority in Aspen View’s three-year capital plan

Trustees express concern that projects within plan are based on decade-old information
The modernization of LTIS remains the No. 1 priority in the capital plan and based on a facility audit from 2011 would cost an estimated $23.843 million.

ATHABASCA – The modernization of Landing Trail Intermediate School (LTIS) remains the top priority in the Aspen View Public Schools' three-year capital plan, though trustees are seeking to update the decade-old audits that were the basis for it and other projects in the document.

Aspen View trustees passed a motion at their March 9 meeting to approve the 2024-2026 capital plan, which will now be submitted to Alberta Education ahead of a March 30 deadline.

Supt. Neil O’Shea said their facilities committee did a great job of visiting all the schools in the division prior and getting updates on their condition prior to the preparation of the capital plan.

He noted there would normally be a facilities committee meeting prior to the board signing off on the plan, but the fact that this work was done in the fall eliminated the need for such a meeting.

“Our priorities (from previous years) have not changed,” he said.

The modernization of LTIS remains the No. 1 priority in the capital plan and based on a facility audit from 2011 would cost an estimated $23.843 million.

“It has been our first priority for a while,” noted O’Shea.

Second on the list is the modernization and right-sizing of Smith School, including the removal of the original 1953 section of the building. Based on a 2013 audit, this project would cost an estimated $10.75 million.

Third on the list is Grassland School, which is noted in the capital plan as only being 21 per cent utilized and in need of right-sizing. This project, based on a 2012 audit, would cost an estimated $4.767 million.

Finally, Rochester School is the fourth project in the capital plan, slated for a modernization and right-sizing that would entail removing the original section of the building constructed in 1952. Based on a 2012 audit, this project would cost $9.546 million.

Board chair Candyce Nikipelo said trustees had previously discussed how the facility audits used as the basis of the capital plan are very dated.

“They’re over 10 years old, some of them,” she said. “I’m not sure what the government’s process is for re-doing (those audits), but I’m sure these estimated costs of these modernizations are way low now.”

O’Shea responded that he could get in touch with the province and find out more about the process for re-doing the facility audit, with the intention of reporting his findings at the next board meeting.

Vice chair Anne Karczmarczyk asked if they would need to wait until the new secretary-treasurer has been appointed, as they would normally be part of that process.

She noted that in the case of the LTIS modernization, " I’m sure the building has deteriorated quite a bit since (the last audit in 2011).”

O’Shea said normally the secretary-treasurer would pursue this issue, but he could at least get some preliminary information and bring Alberta Infrastructure’s attention to the extremely-dated audits.

Other trustees indicated that they were nervous about the idea of right-sizing their smaller schools, as they no doubt use all their space despite being “under-utilized” according to some provincial formula.

Trustee April Bauer said there has been discussion at the Alberta School Boards Association level about changing the utilization formulas relied on for these capital projects, adding that president Marilyn Dennis has been working on that issue.

"Our small schools are utilizing all their space effectively even if they are at 20 per cent utilization or lower,” she said.

Kevin Berger,

Kevin Berger

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