October 24th, 2020

Public school board OKs capital plan in virtual meeting

By JEREMY APPEL on March 25, 2020.

SCREENSHOT — The Medicine Hat Public School Division held its first online board meeting Tuesday, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

jappel@medicinehatnews.com@MHNJeremyAppel

The Medicine Hat Public School Division held its first virtual board meeting Tuesday evening via Zoom.

Although the coronavirus has captured everyone’s attention, school boards still must go about their regular business as much as possible.

“We’ve really abbreviated our agendas, just because of the inability for us to carry on business in a normal manner,” says Rick Massini, board chair.

“It was a first-time experience for all of us, but I was surprisingly impressed by how it went.”

Trustees approved the board’s three-year capital plan, which prioritizes a new school in the south-end Hamptons neighbourhood ($14.6 million) and modernization for Ecole Connaught ($19.7 million) for the 2021-22 school year, as well as Crestwood School’s modernization for the following year.

“We’re looking at areas in the city where we’re experiencing some growth,” Massini said.

The Hampton school is the No. 1 priority, because nearby schools Ken Sauer and George Davison are at 105 per cent and 90 per cent capacity, respectively, he explained.

Alberta Education prefers schools operate at 80-85 per cent capacity, Massini added.

However, the chances of MHPSD getting the funds it requested are “relatively slim,” Massini says.

“There’s other centres who have huge demand for new schools. They’re running at peak in pretty much all of their schools,” he said.

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