Board approves sound fix for Erskine gym

Clearview Public Schools trustees have given the green light for renovations to improve the sound quality

Clearview Public Schools trustees have given the green light for renovations to improve the sound quality in the Erskine School gymnasium.

The work — estimated to cost $45,000 — will involve placing 200 panels along the walls of the gym to reduce sound reverberation to the two-second limit mandated by Alberta Education.

The board approved a motion to go ahead with the work at its regular meeting on Thursday, Oct. 9, roughly a month after asking associate superintendent Peter Neale to seek additional quotes.

Neale told the board on Sept. 11 that the gym had failed to pass acoustic tests.

Sounds in the gym were reverberating for up to six seconds, well above the provincial standard of two seconds.

The gym has recently received $92,000 in renovations carried out after it was discovered that pieces of insulation were coming loose and falling through the wooden slats on the ceiling.

Drywall was installed on the ceiling and the wooden slats were reinstalled underneath.

The board approved the necessary work to bring the gym within provincial standards, but took exception to the cost.

Neale returned to the board on Oct. 9 with a second quote for a different approach that would involve installing panels on the ceiling. He said this approach would take four to six weeks, would require the removal of the wood slats on the ceiling, and would cost between $225,000 and $275,000.

Neale added that a third quote was being sought, but noted, “There’s not a lot of companies that do this in Alberta.”

Trustee Cheri Neitz urged the board to move forward with the original quote, provided by Edmonton-based Acoustic Solutions.

Neitz reported that due to the gym’s poor acoustics, Erskine’s teachers are currently holding most of their physical education classes outdoors.

Neale informed the board that additional funding could be used to improve the sound quality beyond what’s required, reminding them that up to $75,000 was available in the capital budget.

“This solution is very modular,” he explained. “They can add more panels if they want.”

The board approved spending up to $45,000 to address the situation, noting that additional funding could be approved if necessary at a later point.

Results from William E. Hay

During the same meeting, trustees were presented with the 2013-2014 diploma examination and provincial achievement test results from the students of William E. Hay Composite High School.

Rob Rathwell, the division’s co-ordinator of administrative and instructional support, presented the results with some caveats, noting that several students were exempted from certain exams in June following a school tragedy that month.

This, according to the report, had an “unknown effect” on the results, as up to 52 students were exempted from taking exams in English 30-1 and 30-2, Social Studies 30-1 and 30-2, and Chemistry 30.

“It’s really going to skew some results,” said Rathwell, adding, “Until the superintendent (Peter Barron) has a chance to talk to (principal Norbert) Baharally, we won’t know the full extent of that.”

The results indicated positive outcomes, as in all recorded courses, the percentage of students meeting the provincial standard in 2013-2014 was either “significantly above” or “not significantly different from” the previous three-year average.