by Rhonda Massad
Just in time for the 2017 construction season, Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports and Minister for the Family, Sébastien Proulx doled out $655 million for school renovations across Quebec.
“Schools that are closed or in poor condition are unacceptable. We need to make sure that we provide healthy, safe and stimulating environments for the students who attend them,” stated Proulx during a visit to a Rosemont school last week. “I am more than convinced that improving their living environment will have a positive impact on their learning, motivation and educational success.”
As part of the regular and additional measures to maintain the buildings and to reduce the maintenance deficit for the 2016-2017 school year, budget envelopes have been allocated to each of the French and English school boards in Quebec. The overall amount represents an increase of more than 78% compared to last year’s investments in these measures.
Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) will receive $ 11,827,016 while Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board will receive close to four times that amount, $44,192,672.
The renovation and maintenance of the school building stock include various works such as the upgrading of buildings; Repair of roofs; Replacement of doors, windows, and sanitary installations; And improving the heating, ventilation or plumbing system.
According to LBPSB chair Suanne Stein Day, the schools that fall under Lester B. are simpy in better shape than the other school boards.
“The money is a dent in the complete list of projects totaling around $100 million,” Stein Day explained. “We would never expect to receive all of that in one year and the annual grants allow us to keep up fairly well.”
Stein Day feels fortunate to have what she considers to be a highly qualified administrative team managing our facilities.
“The Director, Bruno Côté, is a structural engineer and ensures the projects we request are properly prioritized to achieve the greatest gains” she surmised. “Most of the projects can be described as “preventive maintenance” such as roofs, doors, and windows to minimize the possibility of ever having to evacuate students from a school.”
“We are getting proportionally less than any other Montreal board because of this preventative strategy. Our buildings are really in very good shape. Many of our buildings are as old as any of the other boards (Macdonald High is well over 100 years old), but they are very well maintained.”
Stein Day hopes that LBPSB’s commitment to excellence could be recognized in some way to help the board move forward with other classroom initiatives like Future Ready schools, maker spaces and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) classroom.