Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) has received word that three fully funded new modular classrooms have been approved for Bezanson School. As part of the package, Alberta Education will cover reasonable costs associated with delivery and set-up of the units, including $12,000 per unit for furniture and equipment. Costs for any additional supplies will be covered by the school's site budget.
"Construction will begin as soon as the current school year ends, and the new classrooms will be ready to be occupied for the start of the new school year," says David Michalko, Facilities Director at PWSD.
One of the classrooms will address an emergent need for additional student accommodations. Based on current enrolment numbers, Bezanson School is slightly more than 98 per cent utilized. The province's utilization formula, a measure of the relative occupancy levels of a school, indicates that expansion may be considered when a facility reaches or exceeds a utilization of 85 per cent.
Two of the new modular classrooms will replace aging units, built in 1976 and 1988, that were relocated to the site from other schools that underwent modernization projects. Older modular classrooms, such as the two being replaced at Bezanson, have an average expected lifespan of approximately 25 years.
The three new units will be attached to two existing modular classrooms that were added to the main school structure in 2010.
As for which grades will occupy the new classrooms, the Principal will likely need to reconfigure the school's classroom structure because one of the older units being replaced is the current stand-alone Kindergarten classroom that includes its own washroom.
The new units will include plenty of storage space, SMART® boards and integrated sound field systems. The flexibility offered by modular classrooms is part of a design approach seen in recent new school builds throughout the province, including PWSD's replacement Robert W. Zahara Public School in Sexsmith, and the new Whispering Ridge Community School currently under construction north of Grande Prairie in the Whispering Ridge subdivision. Under the new approach, traditional construction methods are reserved for core components of the school, such as the gym, learning commons, cafeteria, washrooms and labs, while the need for instructional space to accommodate student enrolment is assessed on an ongoing basis through the addition or removal of modular classroom units.
Photo Caption: Bezanson School will receive three new modular classrooms this summer – one will address student enrolment growth, and two will replace aging units that have passed their expected lifespan.