At the October 17 public Board meeting, the Wild Rose School Division Board of Trustees passed a motion to temporarily move all of the grade 7-12 students at Breton High School to Warburg School during the construction phase of the Breton High School modernization. Breton High School will maintain its staff, students and identity during this time and will be operating in a portion of Warburg School that is not being used by Warburg School due to their low utilization rate. If the government approves construction funds for the Breton High School modernization, the projected date for this temporary move would begin in September 2024 and is predicted to last for approximately 17 months.
At this board meeting, WRSD trustees and administration discussed the pros and cons of phasing vs vacating the high school during construction. They also discussed the survey results and questions received from the school community (see Breton Modernization FAQ). The Board’s decision was based on the following information:
- Feedback from the October 4 public meeting
- Phone calls and emails received at BHS the morning after the public meeting
- Emails sent to Wild Rose School Division
- Survey results: out of 228 survey results 57.5% indicated a preference for phasing and 42.5% indicated a preference for vacating
- Since the October 4th meeting, Wild Rose School Division received further details from Start Architecture regarding how phasing would impact the day to day operations of Breton High School during construction. Phasing would take approximately 22 months and would happen in 6 stages, resulting in students being moved to different parts of the school during each phase with various rooms not available for learning at any given time:
- CTS Woods, Fabrication and Cosmetology unavailable for all of 2024-25 and 2025-26 School Years. Cosmetology might be available by February 2026
- Gym would be unavailable from May to October 2025
- Gym change rooms & washrooms closed 2024-25 school year and no mezzanine access
- Office moves to gathering area or stage area from December 2024 to September 2025
- Music Room Is closed from August 2025 to February 2026
- Foods Room will remain available (move to a new one part way through)
- Science lab will remain available (move to a new one part way through)
- Learning Commons will be in a storage room or part of the music room until February 2026
- Staff washroom access removed for 2024-25 school year
- Current student washrooms remain for 2024-25
- New student washrooms ready by 2025-26
- The school may have limited internet access at the beginning of the 2025-26 school year if the server and switch relocation cannot be completed over the summer. This would have a significant impact on teacher instruction and student learning.
- Phasing allows for five usable classrooms at any one time during construction which means grade 7 and possibly grade 8 students would need to be moved to Breton Elementary School during the entire construction period.
- A large majority of the Breton High School staff have stated that vacating to Warburg School is better than phasing in terms of maintaining high quality instruction.
- The length of construction is estimated to be approximately 25% shorter if we vacate compared to phasing (approximately 17 months vs 22 months).
- Vacating would save approximately $500,000 to $750,000. These funds could then be used to enhance the project.
The Board acknowledged that regardless of which decision they made, phasing or vacating, the modernization process will create challenges for students, staff, families and the community of Breton. For example, vacating to Warburg School will result in longer bus rides for all Breton K-12 students and there may be some negative economic impacts on the community of Breton during the time the high school students are away. We are hopeful that the construction workers the project brings to the community will help offset this economic impact.
The WRSD Board and administration reviewed their primary responsibility in the provision of educational services to students. Based on this review of the information above, it is our belief that it is in the best interests of students and their educational programming to temporarily vacate to Warburg School where our staff and students will have access to enough classrooms for all of their grade 7-12 students as well as access to a gymnasium, shop, science lab and music room for the entire duration of this project; which will be significantly shorter in time compared to phasing.
The end result will be a fully modernized school that will keep K-12 students in the community of Breton for many years to come.