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More funds needed for St. Patrick School modernization

The modernization of St. Patrick School has been put on hold. Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools Superintendent Karl Germann says work on the design and tender package has been stalled since mid-November as the cost is higher than expected.

“It’s considered a heavy modernization due to the work that has to occur there, but we’ve got a meeting scheduled to see if we can’t move that project along and get the government to add the additional funds to it, or they’re going to have to do something else.”

A $10 million modernization of the school was approved in March 2017, before its doors closed temporarily due to mould. Germann says another couple million dollars is needed, noting the price tag is getting close to the cost of a new building altogether.

“In the scope of building a school it’s not a whole lot of money to move that school forward and get it done. Probably to build a new one would probably add about $5 million instead of $2 million to the project so it’s close either way.”

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Germann says the school division is about a month away from being able to tender the project, with all the design and engineering work done. He hopes to get work started as soon as the ground thaws.

“We should be able to be into that building in a little over a year if everything goes as planned. It’s really requiring the province to add a couple more million dollars to that project and then it can move forward and move to completion because we’ve got other projects in the wings as well.”

If the government adds the funds, Germann hopes classes will start up again in 2020, followed by the opening of the new school in O’Brien Lake West in 2021. Students formerly at St. Patrick School were moved to Holy Cross and Mother Teresa.

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