A number of major renovations are underway in the Kootenay-Columbia school district this summer. (Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash)

A number of major renovations are underway in the Kootenay-Columbia school district this summer. (Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash)

After 70 years, new windows for Warfield school

Webster Elementary still has most of its original single-paned windows from 1949

It’s clear that windows installed in 1949 should be changed out, especially if the single panes are part of a structure that houses children year-round.

That’s the case with Webster Elementary School and the big window replacement job now underway.

Funding through the province’s School Enhancement Program – $1.18 million – came through for a number of capital projects in Kootenay-Columbia, including 60 new insulated panels for the Warfield grade school.

All the windows are in the classroom wing for the first phase of the project, the remainder of the building will be completed at a later date in Phase 2.

Energy savings will certainly be forthcoming with new windows, plus the district is looking forward to another side-bonus.

“We are expecting an improved learning environment,” says Heather Simms, director of operations.

“We are also addressing a big safety concern as these windows were very old and we were concerned about them remaining secure.”

The district is definitely making the building more energy efficient, Simms added.

“There will be also be a reduction in carbon usage, (by) reducing energy our heat loss will be greatly reduced.”

The majority of the job, $635,000, was funded by the ministry’s capital grant. The shortfall of approximately $300,000 will be covered through local funds within the Kootenay-Columbia district.

Other major upgrades in this year’s enhancement program include $540,000 worth of work at Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar. The job is in two parts, with $290,000 being directed into asbestos abatement and $250,000 toward a flooring replacement project.

Other improvements now underway include a paved path around Glenmerry Elementary School in addition to a number of classroom renovations, and a new roof at Castlegar Primary School.

Earlier this year, the province announced all B.C. school districts would receive a portion of this year’s $65-million School Enhancement Program.

The funding was invested into 176 separate projects that will upgrade a wide range of building systems.

Kootenay Lake School District received $550,000 for construction of an elevator at the Central Education Centre, and Arrow Lakes School District is directing its $617,000 allotment into dust collection systems upgrades at the Nakusp high school and Lucerne Elementary School.

Additionally, the province announced a $12.5-million budget for 93 new buses and 28 replacement budgets in various school districts.

Locally, Kootenay-Columbia was funded $650,000 for five replacement buses and Kootenay Lake was given $1-million for eight replacement buses.

These funding programs build on the Annual Facilities Grant (AFG), which flows into districts for routine school maintenance costs. The total AFG for 2018 is $115.5 million, an increase of $5 million over last year.

Funded projects are meant to benefit schools by saving them money on electricity, natural gas, fuel and maintenance.