It has been a long time coming, but the process is finally moving ahead with George Fitton School’s new gymnasium.
MCM Architects Inc. have been authorized by the Brandon School Division to proceed with the construction documents for George Fitton’s gymnasium and daycare addition.
Brandon School Division board of trustees chair Mark Sefton said there was a "hallelujah" around the board table this week when the motion was approved.
"People are very happy that this is moving forward," he said. "It’s been a long time since it was initially promised, so we’re really happy that it’s getting into the queue."
It was in June 2011 when the Manitoba government promised provincial cash for George Fitton for better gymnasium facilities. The topic had been discussed since about 2009.
"It’s always a pretty detailed process," Sefton said. "There’s a whole lot of … back and forth to the Public Schools Finance Board to make sure it’s meeting their requirements, back and forth from the architects and each step a long the process, the school division has to give the green light."
George Fitton’s gym was built for a kindergarten to Grade 5 school and has since grown to be K-8. The space needed for a middle years gym is also larger than early years.
The gym has been pushed to the limits of its capacity since September 2010, when Grade 7 and Grade 8 students from the former Harrison Middle School were reassigned back to their old elementary schools to make way for the single-track French immersion school at Harrison.
When completed, the new gym will mean the school’s entire physical education program can be conducted on site, versus the current sharing arrangement they have with École Harrison.
Back in 2009, the cost of a new gym at George Fitton was estimated at approximately $2.5 million. However, the division’s secretary-treasurer, Kevin Zabowski, said that cost is likely a lot higher now, due to increasing costs.
The division hopes to begin construction on the new gymnasium this spring and is slated for completion by September 2014.