D.A. Ferguson modernization update
At the January 16, 2018 Horizon Board of Trustees meeting, trustees were informed that construction delays for D.A. Ferguson, Horizon’s largest middle school, will extend modernization until August 2019. While it may not look like it, based on the lack of any construction work to date, a significant amount of planning and problem solving has been undertaken since Alberta Education formally approved the partial modernization of the D.A. Ferguson/W.R. Myers complex in the fall of 2015.
Unlike Horizon’s previous modernizations including, Vauxhall High School, Vauxhall Elementary School, Barnwell School and Warner School, which were managed by the jurisdiction, the D.A. Ferguson modernization is Horizon’s first project managed by Alberta Infrastructure.
Significant design challenges paired with changes to Alberta Education, Alberta Infrastructure, and Sahuri Architecture staff assigned to the project have required additional time for planning and design.The project has also had significant challenges resulting in the need for additional government consultation and changes to design requirements and budget allocations.
Modernizations which were scheduled to begin in October of 2017 are now scheduled to commence in March/April of 2018 and are forecast to continue through the 2018-2019 school year. The entire project was initially scheduled to be completed by December 2018 but repeated delays have pushed the timeline back by 6 to 8 months.
Marie Logan states, “The D.A. Ferguson modernization has encountered significant challenges and delays largely beyond Horizon’s control. Instead, the delays have been triggered by variances in building code interpretations, structural and design issues, as well as provincial funding considerations that required time to resolve.”
The Board agrees that the delays were necessary in order to fully resolve the issues, and acknowledges that Alberta Infrastructure’s decision to take time upfront to adequately address the issues will ultimately save time and money once construction is underway. Nonetheless, given the decision to relocate students from D.A. Ferguson to W.R. Myers in August of 2017, the Board is frustrated with the delay and the impact it has on the current students of D.A. Ferguson and W.R. Myers,
We recognize that families are anxious for the renovations to begin and eager for the project to be completed. The staff of D.A. Ferguson and W.R. Myers will continue to work collaboratively with Alberta Infrastructure and their contractors and advocate for their students to minimize the impact as significant construction is undertaken to update and revitalize the school.
Dr. Wilco Tymensen, Superintendent of Schools stated that the modernization was undertaken to improve the classrooms and replace electrical and mechanical systems that were operating well beyond their life expectancy. Modernizations are complex activities and undergoing construction in a functioning school creates additional complications. As we move forward we will continue to update parents and our focus will continue to be on keeping the project on task while limiting the impact on students.
It is increasingly evident that the vision approved by the Board of Trustees is becoming a reality. As construction milestones are reached, programming and learning activities will continue to evolve and benefit Taber’s youth now and in the future.