Summer is always a busy time for maintenance staff at Garden Valley School Division (GVSD).
GVSD Superintendent Dan Ward says it's time to get the schools ready for fall through regular maintenance projects and additional cleaning. It's also a time to work on some projects, which are often related to the board's Five Year Capital Plan.

One of the significant projects published in the division's five-year capital plan earlier this year was new foundational piles under the automotive technology shop at GVC.

"That takes a little bit longer in terms of getting that work started because we need an engineering assessment and that work is done with the province. And so we are planning to engage with the province this month and further work will be done on that in terms of the planning processes before anything goes to tender in the fall."

The gym roof at GVC is also being replaced, and some smaller projects at Northlands Parkway Collegiate (NPC) and J.R. Walkof include some work on the groups, including sidewalk replacement.

"We are making some improvements to ventilation systems, I think most notably at the Hochfeld and Blumenfeld schools where HRV units are being installed," explained Ward. "This was part of a multi-year expanded capital funding program that the province provided. So we were able to access $400,000 in funding for those much-needed ventilation system upgrades.

Ward noted the HRV units will help with energy efficiency at the schools.

Some fairly major work is also happening at Parkland Elementary to upgrade its mechanical systems. "This will include the installation of a new rooftop chiller for the school. Our current cooling system there is reaching the end of life, So in consultation with the province a decision was made to put a rooftop chiller in and that work will continue throughout the summer and into the fall, We're also looking to replace a boiler system at J.R. Walkof. It's still working, but one of their boilers has reached a near end of life."

In addition to the boiler replacement at J.R. Walkof, much-needed updates to the controls will also get done.

"Also at the school level, we're able to access some support through fundraising, through parent councils which do phenomenal work with their school communities and this has resulted in a number of projects. And notable ones include a new climbing structure at Parkland in the playground. Southwood is getting a new sand pit, and a new basketball pad is being put in at Border Valley." 

Right now projects are all on track, but Ward noted some of the existing work that's happening was delayed from last year. 

"Probably the most notable would be the HRV replacements at Hochfeld and Blumenfeld. We had hoped to get this work done in 2022, but because of supply chain issues, we had to push it into 2023. We're happy the work is happening now. But definitely, we were impacted by shortages and supplies, but as far as this summer goes, we're certainly on track." 

From the backyard at GVC: work currently underway to replace the gymnasium roofFrom the backyard at GVC: work currently underway to replace the gymnasium roof

On the topic of budget, Ward says that is on track too. 

"This is a combination of provincially funded projects as well as division-funded projects. In terms of the big projects, we're looking at about a $2,000,000 price tag for those upgrades I was talking about, and that is work that's being supported by the province. And our maintenance plan also takes into account some of the smaller scale items, the maintenance items that are year to year...But it's still of course early days with some of our bigger projects. As I mentioned the big project that hasn't started yet would be the foundational pillars at GVC." 

More information on that will be available once the engineering assessment is complete. and they're we'll be more information on that once we do the engineering assessment. 

Recognizing all the continuing work going on behind the scenes throughout the summer, Ward shared a thanks to all of the division's maintenance and operations staff, and divisional staff, including their finance and IT staff for working hard over the summer to get the schools ready for the fall.