I am writing to express both my disgust and my dismay over the handling of the F.H. Collins High School “project.” I use the word project lightly. After all, wasn’t the original tender submission date passed and then subsequently cancelled without ever hiring a project manager?
That said, I find myself pondering the whole affair whenever the subject is broached. Weren’t two consecutive Yukon Party election victories essentially achieved based on a promise of an as yet unbuilt school replacement? And when the original tender was cancelled and the original design was scrapped, did anybody lose their jobs? And what was the cost of that design?
I suspect that it far exceeded the total annual income of several households. And what has been the cost of the new “free” design and subsequent redesign and delay in tendering of a building that has less room than the current building and is so special that only a limited number of Outside contractors could even be considered for the construction?
Apparently Yukon government job security extends to even the most incompetent of those in upper management who would even consider that it would be OK to run a high school in northern Canadian winter without the benefit of a gymnasium because somehow that would be of service to Yukoners.
Was there ever a cost-benefit analysis done regarding the need to replace this building? Who decided that we need this? The reasons that I have heard for having to replace it are, in my opinion, questionable. Most have to do with the fact that most, if not all, of the buildings systems are dated and in need of replacement.
I have never heard that the actual building itself is in any way compromised. I attended and graduated from F.H. Collins and have been working on it ever since. I have been in every nook and cranny of the building. It’s old, no doubt about it. But concrete footings are solid and relatively crack free, the walls are solid dry fir timber as are the roof trusses which are solidly bolted together. We couldn’t afford to build like this in todays construction environment.
Where I am going with this is to propose that F.H. Collins does not need to be replaced. It need renovations.
Any cost savings that might have been realized by building replacement, I believe, have long since vanished in the fiasco that has been plaguing both the citizens and the government for way too long. Building systems can and should be replaced when they have surpassed their best before date. There are many qualified local contractors that could be employed for this type of work. These are same people that would be responsible for the continued maintenance for many years to come.
I propose that F.H. Collins be declared a historic site. Something about this building doesn’t want to be torn down. Almost every person in the Yukon over a certain age went to F.H. Collins as well as a large number who still do. It is in an ideal location, it isn’t too hard to look at and many of its students have gone on to achieve great accomplishments.
If this doesn’t qualify as heritage, I don’t know what would.