Catholic School Division aims for upgrades to St. Mary and Holy Cross

Evan Swalm Photo

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division has submitted funding applications for minor capital upgrades to Ecole St. Mary High School and Ecole Holy Cross.

The division submitted the applications to the Minor Capital Renewal Funding program for 2025-2026.

“Our schools are aging and what we’re trying to do here is ensure that the ministry is aware that we do have needs in this round for minor capital requests,” Education Director Lorel Trumier said. “We had identified that Holy Cross and St. Mary would be two schools that could benefit from a minor capital project.”

To be eligible for Minor Capital Renewal funding, a project must involve structural renovations, additions and/or demolition ranging in cost from $1 million to $10 million. The project must also be completed in a two year time period.

“Fingers crossed, we’ll have that opportunity because … those projects are to extend the life of the school,” Trumier explained.

The Minor Capital Renewal for Holy Cross project will allow the school to address safety risks and allow programming to continue uninterrupted. It includes items like replacement of doors and windows to improve energy efficiency and re-landscaping around the building to address drainage issues, among many items listed. The project is planned to start in 2024-2026 and end in 2026-2027.

The Minor Capital Renewal for St. Mary project will allow the school to address safety risks and allow programming to continue uninterrupted. It includes items like replacement of air handling units and heating system components and replacement of windows and doors to address energy efficiency. The project is planned to start in 2024-2026 and end in 2026-2027.

“We do have very nice facilities, (but) there are parts of them that are aging, boilers and mechanical and roofs. Those cost a lot of money to maintain, but it doesn’t mean we have to tear down the school and build a new one,” Trumier said.

This is the third year for the Minor Capital Projects Renewal Funding program. The last project approved was St. John Community School.

The division was notified in early June, 2023 that the Ministry of Education has approved proceeding with the renovations. The budget has been approved for $2,100,000.

The project included renovations to improve the bathrooms, kitchen and library. Other interior upgrades include the replacement of boilers, roof top units, windows, lighting, doors, flooring, wheelchair lift, furniture, equipment, relocatable classroom roofing and surveillance are also included in the project.

Trumier said adding life to the buildings will benefit to the division.

“We just need some support in ensuring that we can maintain them,” Trumier said.

The deadline for applications to the program was Feb. 29.

Catholic Division looking to extend partnership with PBCN

The Prince Albert Catholic Division is looking to extend a partnership with the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation that began in this school year.

The two groups submitted a proposal to the province as part of the Invitational Shared Services Initiative (ISSI) in June, 2023 and received approval later that month. The ISSI develops partnerships between First Nation education authorities and provincial school systems.

“We’ve had such a strong partnership this year that’s really come to some good work,” Trumier said. “We are hoping that Peter Ballantyne, Cree Nation will want to join that Shared Service Initiative in a partnership and we have no reason to believe that they wouldn’t.”

The ISSI is part of the provincial government’s response and ongoing commitment to the recommendations found in the Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Metis People.

The goal is to improve outcomes for First Nations Students living on-reserve attending provincial schools. Every school division in the province was invited to submit ISSI applications.

In addition to improving outcomes, the project application must also be mutually beneficial to both parties, not already be funded by other sources, address one of the Inspiring Success Framework goals, and respond to one of the TRC Calls to Action.

The ISSI supports the division’s Strategic Plan in the areas of Inspiring Success, instruction and assessment and mental health and well-being.

During Monday’s school board meeting, superintendent Charity Dmytruk, who spearheaded the application, made a recommendation to extend the partnership for 2024-2025.

“I want to make sure that the board is aware that we would like to proceed again,” Trumier said. “Obviously with the strong relationship that we have, that would be something that is helpful both to the students in our system that are students of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.”