If the school building is the body, and students and staff are its heart, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are its lungs. The Yorkton Regional High School (YRHS) is getting a lung transplant. The Government of Saskatchewan announced that the school is getting a $19 million renovation, with the majority of the upgrades going towards a HVAC overhaul.
Education Minister Gord Wyant said that the project has been advocated for locally for a while, both from the Good Spirit School Division and Yorkton MLA Gord Wyant. The need for substantial upgrades to YRHS was first identified in 2010, after floods in the area revealed problems with the existing setup.
“Certainly it’s going to be a renovation that’s going to enhance the quality and safety aspects of the school. It was their number one capital project, so when we were looking at how we’re going to invest in capital projects, the additional two billion dollars that we put into our capital program over the next number of years, this was the project that came to the top of the list.”
The project is currently in the planning phase, and the hope is that the work will begin in the spring and continue through summer said Quintin Robertson, Director of Education.
Beyond the HVAC improvements, the school will also receive fire suppression upgrades, exterior upgrade and roof replacement.
“The bones of the building are very strong, they’re exceptional in fact, so we’re looking at HVAC, we’re looking at the lungs of the building, looking at some of the systems involved with the building. There will be some cosmetic upgrades, but it’s mostly some of the underbelly of your traditional high school, some of the things that the typical person wouldn’t see but keep the building safe and keep the occupants safe,” explained Robertson.
“This work needed to be done to make sure that the school is going to be safe, not just for students but for staff for many years,” Wyant said.
The goal of the renovations is to keep YRHS as an institution for the city for another fifty years.
“A couple of years back celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school, I was really moved by the number of people who came and the depth of love they have for this building… I have two of my own children that are currently in that building, and it’s enormously important for our school division, for the Parkland region and I think the province as well,” said Robertson.