Horizon School Division opens $6.2 million office

The Horizon School Division has moved into its brand new, $6.2 million, 22,780 square feet office building.

Located in east Humboldt on Highway 5, it houses 43 staff and features offices, a new boardroom, storage space, lunchroom and maintenance shop.

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Kevin Garinger, the division's director of education, said he’s pleased with the new building.

“It's nothing extravagant. It's just very practical and the space has been used very well. That's what we were after,” he said. “It reminds me a lot of a school in a lot of ways.”

The building, at the end of the day, ended up being $100,000 under budget.

Before the division moved into the new office over the holidays, the head office’s staff was divided into two buildings: one in the lower floor of the Olymel building across Highway 5 and one in a quonset that’s located beside where the new office is now.

Garinger said working in one building will be more efficient.

“Already I'm hearing, just today, of people and the work that they've been able to accomplish that would have taken them upwards of half a day because they'd have sent emails and tried to set up times for people to meet those kinds of things,” he said. “That was accomplished literally in a matter of minutes now because everybody's in the same location.”

The division will now save money on what it used to devote to lease payment. Horizon said that money will be funneled back to classrooms.

The quonset was put up for bid, with Brockman Enterprises winning the building. The plan is to have the quonset moved by March and then pave its former location for staff parking.

The main boardroom contains a permanent camera and projection screens so that people from offsite locations could be seen talking while using webconferincing.

“The technology that's in there is going to be very useful for not only the board,” Garinger said, “but also for the many other meetings that we have that are electronic.”

For instance, the division's top administrators can now conference with principals without them leaving their schools.

The camera system can also make it possible to recorder school board meetings and stream them on the web.

Horizon is planning to hold a public grand opening later in the year, once the weather warms up.

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