An invitational tender has been launched seeking local companies to build and deliver a portable classroom unit for Golden Horn Elementary School. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon government issues tender for one portable at Golden Horn Elementary School

The school council had requested upwards of three earlier this year

The Yukon government is looking to buy one new portable for Golden Horn Elementary School, which has the most students of any other in Whitehorse.

The invitational tender, launched on Nov. 23, seeks a minimum of three local businesses to bid on building and delivering the modular classroom in time for the next school year.

The school council had requested a tender be released no later than Dec. 31 to expedite the process.

In a February letter, the council asked for ideally three portables for the 2018/2019 school year to ensure all catchment area students are guaranteed a spot.

While one would be able to accommodate Golden Horn’s projected enrolment, “most classes would be at their legal maximum number and would allow no flexibility for students who move into the catchment area and need a transfer,” the letter says.

“The request for more than one (portable) was really a forward looking request,” said Kirsten Hogan, chairperson for the school council. “The one portable will solve our capacity issue for the coming year.”

The Yukon Department of Education has agreed to reevaluate the situation in following years, she added.

School registration numbers aren’t in yet, Hogan said. They will be available in February.

“We are happy, at least in the immediate short-term, we’re going to be able to accommodate those students,” she said.

There have been some instances of families having to bus children across the city because of waitlists at Golden Horn, as previously reported by the News. There’s at least one situation in which a single mother is homeschooling her son due to a lack of space.

Earlier this month, the News reported that there are only five spaces available in Grade 1.

Golden Horn is at 98 per cent capacity.

The Yukon government put out a tender seeking portable builders earlier this year. No companies, including ones in western Canada and the Yukon, responded to it.

Asked if any companies have since responded to the most recent tender, Oshea Jephson, a spokesperson for the Department of Highways and Public Works, said he couldn’t answer that in order to prevent jeopardizing the competitive process.

The bid process closes on Dec. 18. Names of bidders and amounts will be posted after a contract is awarded.

“We know that there are businesses, a minimum of three, that can do this work, and those are who we’ve pitched to,” Jephson said.

The portable will be ready by Aug. 2, 2019.

Yukon Party House Leader Scott Kent, who raised the problem several times at the legislative assembly this fall, is questioning whether one portable will enough, if everything goes to plan.

“That’s the big concern that I’ve got, that we’ll be right back, next year, where we are now, where there’s no room in the school and their turning away families that live in the attendance area,” he said, adding that the problem isn’t solved by delivering a single portable.

“What are the longer term plans and implications for that school?”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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