The opening of the new school in Whispering Ridge has suffered another setback. One of its contractors, Peace River Heating, went into receivership last November, which has further delayed construction.

Peace Wapiti School Division superintendent Sheldon Rowe says losing the mechanical contractor set them back by two months, meaning the school likely won’t be ready until June 1st.

“Maybe we could scramble, get the furniture in, get everyone moved, and close the Whispering Ridge portion of Harry Balfour down for a few days while all that happened, but we don’t think it’s in the best interest of kids to scramble them over there.”

Rowe also foresees concerns about adjusting pick up and drop off times for transportation, the impact on daycare, and having students in a school that may not yet have a lawn. Roughly half of the students in Harry Balfour will be moving over to the new school, which should now happen in September 2018.

“They’re safe, but they’re crowded,” explains Rowe. “This was going to be ample space and we were looking forward to it, but the reality is that you don’t want to move kids until you know that you can move them into a safe, workable learning environment.”

Two months after the school district got notice of the bankruptcy, a new contractor is now in place. Rowe notes the project had to go through the bidding process again, which sets back the construction schedule, and some companies already had other work booked.

Peace River Heating was also a contractor on the build of St. John Paul II Catholic School. GPCSD superintendent Karl Germann says their project was also delayed, but G & M Plumbing & Heating has been brought in to replace them.

“We are still finalizing occupancy details and will have more information in the near future.”

This is not the first time Whispering Ridge has had its opening date pushed back. The original plan was to open in September 2017, which was pushed back to January 2018 when the tender was awarded, and then to April due to poor weather and a lack of skilled workers.