Airdrie Koinonia Christian School’s new location faces major delays
By: Allison Chorney
| Posted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 06:00 am
Airdrie Koinonia Christian School (AKCS) has hit a major roadblock to completing their new building that was supposed to be ready for students at the beginning of the 2013/2014 school year.
The latest delay is due to more than $2.8-million worth of lien claims on the property filed by tradespeople and suppliers since December 2013, who claim they have not been paid for their work since mid 2013.
In a letter to parents from AKCS Board of Directors dated Feb. 7, the school informed parents the contract with the school and builders JDS Construction had been terminated.
“It’s important to understand that despite the fact that AKCS had met all financial obligations to JDS, JDS in turn did not pay the full amount owing to sub trades, which led to the registration of multiple liens against the school property,” the letter stated.
The new 57,000-square-foot building, located on Gateway Dr., began construction in March of 2011 and was expected to be completed by September 2013. However, construction delays postponed the opening of the $10.5-million building until January 2014. Now the liens have stopped work on the school and it remains unoccupied and about 95 per cent complete.
“Everyone involved with AKCS and the community is very disappointed with the events that have transpired during the building of this school,” AKCS Board Chair Scott Calderwood wrote in an email to Airdrie City View.
He said AKCS has paid $9.6 million to JDS for the school building project and realized there were some financial challenges with JDS in late September 2013 but did not know the severity of the situation until the liens were placed on the building.
The school will now pursue establishing a Builders Lien Fund and will enter into new agreements directly with the tradespeople to complete the project. However, the process could take some time as the school must wait 45 days since the last tradespeople were on site before filing an application in court but the school does have about $180,000 held in trust by lawyers and about $1.4 million available in financing, according to documents included in the letter to parents.
“We do not expect the trades to return to the site until the lien fund has been paid into court,” Calderwood said.
“At this time, we are unsure of the timeline but we are working diligently with our legal counsel to move the process along as expeditiously as possible.”
He added there is only about three to six weeks of work left to be completed on the new schools to gain partial occupancy but the school will not be ready for grad this year. He said he hopes it will be completed by the start of the 2014 to 2015 school year in September.
The kindergarten to Grade 12 school’s 272 students are currently being housed in seven different church locations throughout the city.
“There is no question that this building delay has had a negative impact on the school,” Calderwood said. “Everyone involved with AKCS was planning on having the children in the school by this January. There may be an impact in terms of recruitment, however AKCS is hoping that a new school will have a positive impact on recruitment.”
The new building will boast a gymnasium, shop room, home economics room, and art studio for the 370 students that the new building can accommodate.
AKCS will host an open house on Feb. 27 at Grace Baptist Church from 6 to 8 p.m.