Ross River school repairs on schedule: Public Works

The two companies who bid to fix the crumbling Ross River School had dramatically different ideas of how much it would cost. Neither of these bids were originally low enough for the Yukon government.

The two companies who bid to fix the crumbling Ross River School had dramatically different ideas of how much it would cost.

Neither of these bids were originally low enough for the Yukon government.

Ketza Pacific Construction in B.C. bid $2 million for the work which includes repairing 14 concrete pillars under the school’s crawl space and inspect all the beams. Whitehorse’s TSL Contractors Ltd. came in at $19 million.

The two companies bid to fix the school, which was forced to shut down halfway through this school year when engineers declared that the shifting and cracking building was unsafe.

Melting permafrost under the school, which was built in 2000, is a major cause of the problem.

The government had budgeted $1.8 million for the fixes, said Public Works spokesperson Doris Wurfbaum. To get Ketza’s bill under that mark, a few things were knocked off the to-do list.

Rigged insulation will no longer be put on school’s interior concrete piers. That’s OK with the department, she said, because officials want to be able to keep an eye on what’s happening.

Geotechnical work was also cut and will now be a separate contract, she said.

“This change in scope does not effect the quality or standard for repairs being performed and all required repairs are being undertaken.”

The work is already underway and expected to meet the Aug. 1 deadline so that kids can be back in class for the next school year.

Meanwhile a study of the site, including the thermosyphon system which is supposed to draw heat away from the building foundation and surrounding soil, began in June.

Students have been banned from the building since mid-January.

After an unplanned break of about two weeks, the 55 students finished the year in portables and other buildings around town.

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