Would share washrooms at adjacent Arctic College
Prefab unit touted as 'temporary; high school
High school students in Iqaluit may attend class in September inside a large, two-storey prefabricated structure beside Nunavut Arctic College's Nunatta campus.
The temporary building, expected to cost several million dollars, would be built by Atco Structures Inc., the manufacturer of prefabricated buildings used by mining companies, scientists – and schools in need of extra space.
Such is the case of Inuksuk High School, which is to undergo major renovations, at a cost of more than $20 million, in 2008. Renovation plans propose to tear the old school down to its foundations and metal frame, and to then build a new school, with wider halls and bigger windows, at the site.
The big question, since September 2007, when the renovation plans were announced, is where several hundred high school students are supposed to go while renovations are underway.
Nine options on how to accommodate students during the renovations were given to the Iqaluit District Education Authority last week by the Department of Education. Of these, three will be presented to parents during a public meeting in several weeks.
Lori Idlout, chair of the IDEA, confirms the plan to put students in portables on college property is "definitely one of the options" the DEA will put forward to parents. No date for the meeting has been set yet.
If the portable option is chosen, students would attend class in a prefab building with 24 rooms, including 16 classrooms, a lunch room and offices for administration and staff.
One thing the new building apparently won't have is washrooms. Students would cross into the college building by way of a corridor connecting the two buildings to use the sinks, toilets and urinals.
"It seems ridiculous to me," said one college employee, who attended a meeting about the plan on Thursday last week.
The college only has a small parking lot, so school buses would pick and and drop off kids near the Department of Justice building down the road, the meeting heard.
And, while Thursday's meeting was held as a consultation with college staff, the employee was under the impression the decision to build the temporary building had been already made. Staff were told they had several weeks to give feedback.
The temporary building would have a life of about 20 years. Once the high school renovation is complete, most college courses currently taught at the old residence on Federal Road would be moved into the new building.
All this is less appealing to college staff than an older plan, which would have seen a new high school built at a different site and, once complete, the existing high school would become college property, renovated over a number of years.
"We've been scheduled for an expansion. We've been waiting for it. We don't want portables," the employee said.
But the plan would allow students to attend class just across the street from the existing high school during renovations, rather than cart them off to some of the more remote locations under consideration, such as the college's old residence, far down Federal Road, or the defence department's Forward Operating Location.