New F.H. Collins design cribbed from Alberta

There is a new plan for the F.H. Collins building project, again. The Department of Education went shopping across Western and Northern Canada for possible new designs in March after the original building design proved too expensive.

There is a new plan for the F.H. Collins building project, again.

The Department of Education went shopping across Western and Northern Canada for possible new designs in March after the original building design proved too expensive.

Now the department has settled on a two-storey design from Alberta that it will import to the Yukon with some minor changes.

“In conversations at the officials level with Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they were really looking to what Alberta has been doing,” said Education Minister Scott Kent.

The design has been built in a number of Alberta communities, most recently in Terwilliger, outside of Edmonton.

“The decision was to look at Alberta because Alberta has built a number of secondary schools in the last couple of years, so their designs are very current. Alberta also has copyright ownership of their designs and are willing to share them with us at no cost,” said Valerie Royle, Yukon’s deputy minister of education.

The school in Terwilliger was built between 2009 and 2012 for a cost of $21 million, and can hold up to 750 students.

Royle said the design fits the needs of the F.H. Collins community because of its flexible plan, which allows for easy additions if the school needs to expand in the future.

The department will have to make some modifications because the Alberta copy doesn’t have a cafeteria or an industrial kitchen, but Royle said those additions will be easy to make to the overall design.

If the francophone school board decides they want to include their French-language high school at F.H. Collins, the new building can be expanded to accommodate the increase, Royle said.

The design also has a large volume of flexible space. Decisions about what to use it for are still being made.

“The consultation that the F.H. Collins school council has undergone in the last couple of weeks will be instrumental in informing how those interior spaces are used,” Royle said.

The tech trades wing will remain as a stand-alone building when the old F.H. Collins is torn down. The new building will be entirely separate from the current school, so classes and programming shouldn’t be disrupted during construction, Royle said.

Mike Johnson, Yukon’s deputy minister of pubic works, said the process now reverts back to his department to plan the exact layout and construction of the new building.

“We need to assess the ground conditions,” said Johnson.

“This is a done design that we’re acquiring from Alberta. Alberta Infrastructure has made themselves available quite extensively to my staff in order to let us be aware of any issues and challenges with delivering the project.”

The prep work will be done over the summer, and Johnson said he expects to put the project out to tender in the fall. Construction should be complete by the 2015/16 school year, said Johnson. Initial plans would have seen the school completed this summer.

When developing the tenders for the previous design, the government said that it hired two independent professional estimators to help develop the budget of $36.8 million. But when the tender bids came back, the lowest one was almost $9 million above that. The government said it won’t release its professional estimates because it could negatively impact the tendering process for the new design.

Johnson also declined to put a price on the new design.

“I’m reluctant to say what this model will cost because it’s not in Edmonton. There’s a different context and it’s a different time. That being said … I know to an order of magnitude that I can bring this thing home for less than $36.8 million,” Johnson said.

Contact Jesse Winter at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read