Demolition costs for old F.H. Collins building higher than expected

It’s going to cost $2 million more than originally planned to knock down the old F.H. Collins High School.

It’s going to cost $2 million more than originally planned to knock down the old F.H. Collins High School.

But the Department of Highways and Public Works insists the project will still come in under budget.

The contract to demolish the old high school in Riverdale and remove all the hazardous waste was awarded in July to Canyon City Construction, a company owned by Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

The First Nation then subcontracted the hazardous waste portion of the contract to Quantum Murray, an Outside company with offices around Canada.

The department’s original estimate for the project was $2 million for demolition and $500,000 for abatement of hazardous material, said spokesperson Erin Loxam.

“That initial cost was based on the age of the facility. It was an educated guess,” she said.

“What they found was the volume was more than they originally expected and that’s where the big cost jump was.”

It’s estimated there will be between 4,000 and 6,000 tonnes of waste material to remove from the site. Loxam didn’t have a breakdown of how much of that was hazardous material.

There were various hazardous construction materials found in the school including asbestos in the pipe insulation and mercury in light fixtures, thermostats and switches, she said.

Work on the old building is slated to start next week and take two months. After that it will take another month to demolish the building and dispose of everything.

The government budgeted $51 million for the F.H. Collins High School project. That includes the cost of building the new school, which opened this year, and taking down the old one.

“We’re still under budget. The replacement project is going to be within the $51 million, the approved budget for it,” Loxam said.

“For one thing, building the new F.H. Collins came in under budget, so there’s additional money there. Plus there’s contingency planning built in to the $51 million.”

The budget for the new F.H. Collins was a source of much political debate even before the new school was built. The government’s original plans for the school came in over budget and had to be scrapped, but not before $5 million had been spent on the planning process.

Loxam said about $44 million has been spent on the project to date. She didn’t know how much work was left to be done.

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