Saskatchewan Rivers moving forward with Arthur Pechey expansion

Saskatchewan Rivers School Board director of education Robert Bratvold answers a question at the 2016 AGM.

The City of Prince Albert recently finalized approval of the expansion of Arthur Pechey School.

Arthur Pechey expansion approved by City of Prince Albert at City Council’s April 27 meeting. The school board received an update on the progress at their meeting on Monday, May 4 and they are pleased that the city has partnered in the project.

“They have approved all of the required permits and those sorts of things so we have been in conversation with them for a long time and it just takes a while to go through the development process. We are pleased that they have recognized the value and they have been good supports along the way just so we make sure we check all of the boxes and look forward to it,” Saskatchewan Rivers director of education Robert Bratvold said.

They expect the project to begin shortly and the expansion will include a daycare and space for pre-kindergarten programming.

“We have a contractor lined up — in fact it has been lined up for a while — and we were just waiting. We anticipate opening Blooms and Buds probably not until August. Originally we were thinking we would be able to get this wrapped before the end of the school year but that was before COVID hit so it looks likely that it will be August when we are anticipating opening there,” Bratvold said.

The city passed the proposal despite an email received objecting to more additions to the school. It questioned a lack of foresight with previous additions and why a preschool would need to be in a school building.

The email also cited decreasing green space and parking.

The 2020-2021 budget is also moving ahead in the division. Bratvold explained that the usual course is to have discussions in May and usually pass the final budget in their final meeting in June. The budget is looking similar to previous years.

“It is looking balanced so that is a positive thing. We know that the funding announcements when the Ministry announced their full provincial budget with their expectations of expenditures included some consistent funding for school divisions so that has been a positive thing.,” he said.

Their budget situation and funding is on track but there can be unanticipated costs.

“We also know that there are significant costs that continue to rise and that always makes it challenging. The Carbon Tax and those related things have an impact on various parts of our operations so that is something we have to plan for. We also know that the impacts on interest rates and investments have an impact on us as well on revenue there that we can access that we will have less access to as well going forward,” Bratvold said.