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‘Soil instability issues’ will delay opening, spike costs of JK-6 school under construction in New Sudbury

Board currently projecting the new school on Lasalle’s campus will be ready for occupancy in March 2023
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Rainbow District School Board logo

The Rainbow District School Board has run into some “soil instability issues” that will delay the completion and increase construction costs for the new junior kindergarten to Grade 6 French Immersion school being built in New Sudbury.

Speaking at the Dec. 7 Rainbow board meeting, superintendent of business Dennis Bazinet gave trustees an update on the project.

The new school, located on the same campus as Lasalle Secondary School, was to cost $12.6 million (project costs are funded by the province), and was scheduled to open in September 2022. 

It will accommodate students from Ernie Checkeris Public School, Carl A. Nesbitt Public School and Westmount Avenue Public School.

However, “regrettably we’ve encountered some soil instability issues, affecting our construction schedule, primarily on the ground floor,” Bazinet said.

As a result, the board projects at this time that the new school will now only be ready for occupancy in March 2023.

“As a result of this, it means that kindergarten registration for French Immersion students will occur at Ernie Checkeris Public School and Westmount Avenue Public School for September of 2022,” said Bazinet.

He said the board is currently in discussion with a geotechnical consultant, the project’s architect, as well as the Ministry of Education.

“At this point in time, it looks like we will need to alter the design of the ground floor, which is one of the major factors causing the delay in construction,” Bazinet said.

Trustee Judy Kosmerly asked if the situation will cause an increase the project’s capital costs, and Bazinet said it will. He later clarified that those cost increases have not yet been quantified.

“We are having those discussions as we speak with the Ministry of Education,” Bazinet said. “It is ongoing. I don’t have more to say this evening.”

The Rainbow District School Board’s website said the new school “will incorporate a number of green features as Rainbow District School Board makes sustainability an ongoing priority, including R30 exterior walls, heat recovery system, toilets and urinals with sensor activated flush valves, a building automation system and LED lighting with occupancy sensors.”

Bazinet also gave an update on the $3.4 million revitalization of Churchill Public School (this project is also being funded by the province). He said this consists of the demolition of an old section of the building, a new addition, as well as some major ventilation upgrades.

The Rainbow board’s website said the original portion of Churchill is being replaced with “a 5,300 square foot addition for childcare and Kindergarten classrooms. The existing childcare rooms will be renovated to accommodate the students from Cyril Varney Public School.”

It also said the new addition “will be constructed from wood, an environmentally friendly resource. Old exhaust systems will be replaced with new energy-efficient ERV units. The project also includes energy efficient lighting and plumbing fixtures.”

Bazinet said this project is “progressing well and one time. Therefore Churchill will be ready to receive students from Cyril Varney School for September 2022. As a result, kindergarten registrations for September 2022 will only be occurring at Churchill Public School for the New Sudbury English program.”