Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
On its last legs

Schedule for destruction of Mildred Hall fuel facility unknown

Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 02/01) - Public school board officials are still figuring out what to do with a dilapidated building adjacent to Mildred Hall school.

Heating oil was discovered leaking from the school's fuel storage facility last spring. Additionally, its aging walls are beginning to buckle with frost heave.

"It's older than dirt," says Steve Richards, Yellowknife Education District No. 1 director of corporate services. No one is certain how old the fuel facility is, but Richard says he believes it was constructed sometime during the '60s.

According to Richards, the facility's twin 90,000-litre tanks were drained last September. While he does not believe the building poses a threat to children attending school next door, he indicated that the roof is on its last legs, and may not survive another winter.

"It's got the potential (for collapse)," says Richards. "There's a bit of frost heave on the walls."

Regardless, Richards says it would be in the district's best interest to remove the building sooner than later, considering that it is two years away from embarking on a major renovation project at Mildred Hall.

Yellowknife District No. 1 originally estimated the cost of demolishing the building at $100,000.

But after receiving tenders from three local companies for the project, it was later determined that removing the facility would cost at least an additional $65,000.

School board trustees are now left with the difficult decision of whether to re-assign money earmarked for other capital projects, or wait and see if the Department of Education, Culture and Employment will shell out the extra bucks.

ECE has already agreed to pay for half of the original cost of removing the facility, but it remains uncertain whether officials will agree to up the ante. A spokesperson with the department says Yellowknife District No. 1 has yet to ask.

"My problem was that we were asked to re-profile it from Akaitcho Hall," says trustee Marlo Bullock, who asked that a decision on the facility be deferred until ECE has been approached for more funding.

"It does need to come down. I'm not saying don't do it. I'm just saying we need more money from our funding agency before we re-profile."

Bullock, mindful of the dire economic straits the district found itself in last summer, when -- in light of their $823,000 deficit -- the board had to choose between cutting capital projects or staff, did not want a repeat scenario later down the road.

Finance chair Terry Brookes says that he has been in discussion with administration, and that they are currently trying to set up a meeting between themselves and the Department of Public Works, which tendered the last proposal on the board's behalf for the facility's removal. DPW, in turn, will take the boards request to ECE.

"Hopefully, ECE will put more money into it," he added.