Students won’t be returning to former St. Clair Secondary site in September

Delays in renovation project being blamed on shortage of workers

A lack of contractors available to work on the new site of Great Lakes Secondary School is being blamed for a delay in the project to renovate the former St. Clair Secondary School site.

As a result, students, who were expected to move over to the renovated site, will remain at the former SCITS building, at least in the short term.

A news release announcing the delay was issued on Thursday by the Lambton Kent District School Board, which said it was notified by Jasper Construction Corp.

Brian McKay, the board’s superintendent of business, was quoted as saying an early-to-mid fall timing for the eventual move is likely.

The LKDSB said it plans to work with the school community, including students, parents/guardians and staff, in the early fall to develop a plan for the transition to the new school site.

The administration is continuing to work closely with the contractor to ensure the renovated site is completed in a timely manner and reflects the vision of an innovative learning environment that meets the needs of current and future students, said the news release.

“We understand that this is not what the school community was expecting,” said Jim Costello, director of the board of education. “We share these concerns, as the Lambton Kent District School Board was hopeful the renovations would be completed for September 2018.”

Costello likened the project to conducting a symphony orchestra.

“if there is one delay, it changes everyone’s timing,” he said. “In the end, we are focused on doing what is best for our students and mitigating any impact the transition will have on academics and programming. We want to ensure our
students and staff have a positive transition to the new site.”

The overall construction project delays also have a direct impact on the timelines for readying classrooms to welcome students and staff, such as installing furniture and equipment, moving classroom materials, as well as setting up information technology infrastructure and equipment.

“We are proud of the way our students have demonstrated resiliency with the consolidation and established a unified ‘Wolfpack’ identity,” said Costello. “We will continue to work with the contractor to ensure the project moves forward as quickly as possible as we are looking forward to the next phase in the transition process.”

In the meantime, the LKDSB said it is in regular contact with the contractor as work continues, something Jasper CEO John Appugliesi said will remain the case.

“We share the LKDSB’s commitment to completing the Great Lakes Secondary School project as soon as possible in order to support a positive transition for students and staff,” said Appugliesi. “We will be working hard over the next few
months to ensure the building is ready to welcome students and staff as soon as possible.”

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  • Nick Montague

    This now seems to be standard process with Government projects. There is a call for tenders, details are outlined in the tender and then work is delayed at some point usually by 3 months, and that means the original price of the tender gets jacked up and the only one footing the bill is the tax payer. Government Agencies when they accept a tender should make i very clear to the contractor, this is your quote, any variance or delay comes out of your pocket not the tax payers. You would see projects move a lot faster if that were the case, but companies that are regulars at getting government contracts know they can get away with this over and over.