Medicine Hat News

Catholic School Board approves $2.7M commitment for new school gym


Members of Medicine Hat’s Catholic School board voted 4-1 to approve a $2.7-million commitment to the province to complete the construction of gym space at a new school which is currently in its design process.

Holy Trinity Academy is expected to replace St. Francis Xavier School (K-Grade 9) after the province approved design funding in its 2023 budget.

The board voted in favour of the commitment that will allow the division to expand the allocated space for the gymnasium to 1,400 square metres from its current allocation of 940. This will allow for the construction of two full-sized gyms.

Originally the gym space was set to 940 square metres, however the design process increased the space needed.

The larger gym space will meet the needs of the elementary sport academy’s and fine arts academy programming at the new school as well as providing additional gym space for adjacent Monsignor McCoy High School.

In order to proceed with the tender for the larger gym space the board was required to draft a letter of commitment for the government that specifies of the cost of the project.

The division will be using school capital reserves along with funds raised specifically for the project to fund the commitment.

The board projects more than $860,000 in purposed fundraising efforts by the end of 2024. Trustees have also approved a request to the Education Ministry to access $500,000 in capital funds from the disposition of the former St. Louis School.

The division previously requested access to these funds to construct a theatre at McCoy that is no longer required.

The division is also hoping to secure additional funding from the Community Facility Enhancement Program, which provides assistance to building public-use community facilities.

The commitment will be paid off in two components, with the first payment of 80 per cent — $.2.19 million — due this September.

The final 20 per cent will be paid upon substantial completion of the gym, expected by the beginning of 2027.

Trustee Bernie Kinch voted against the motion after sharing concerns over how the division will pay back the province.

“I just am concerned because there’s a lot of what-ifs,” Kinch told the board. “And it’s not like we have this money sitting there yet, so that creates some reservations.

“I’m sitting here debating with myself going, ‘I can’t support it,’ because I don’t know and it’s not my money. The government is going to get paid either way but then that places negative impact on our division.”

Trustee Robert Risling echoed Kinch’s concerns before voting in favour.

“My concern is we’re liable,” says Risling. “We’re making decisions here, this is money that we don’t have. We’re anticipating we’re going to raise the money.”

Superintendent Dr. Zarichny told the board there is a degree of flexibility in the payment structure with the province because it’s a lowrisk venture.





Alberta Newspaper Group