June 19, 2019

Transforming Sun West Schools

The Facilities Department of the Sun West School Division has a huge job but Facilities Supervisor Mike Zummack and his staff are up for it!

Mike sees the job as much more than just fixing and repairing infrastructure. Rather he wants the Facilities Department to collaborate with administrators and staff to transform the learning environment for students in line with the philosophy of education espoused by the Sun West School Division.

To make that happen, every school is invited to prepare a five-year plan for their school maintenance identifying their priorities and the areas they want to transform. It is requested the plans be submitted in January each year and once a plan has been submitted, annual updates are requested each following January as well. Each plan is to include a rationale for the requests and it is through these plans that the Facilities Department collaborates with schools to re-imagine the learning environment in the school.

The kinds of transformations many Sun West schools have seen are remarkable. In keeping with the principles of personalized learning, walls have been removed and more windows and lights have been added. New furniture is portable and elements like rolling walls have been added to make it possible to completely change the configuration, size and purpose of a room in minutes.

Improving the learning environment for students has other benefits as well. In the last three years, Sun West has been able to reduce its maintenance budget by over four million dollars. This is possible because the transforming schools includes finding ways to reduce costs in heating and electricity. Sun West is doing more but it is costing less.

Besides being more efficient, transformed Sun West schools are also greener. Finding ways to use less energy and fuel has reduced the carbon footprint of several Sun West schools. Sun West can now provide schools with information on how large their carbon footprint are and can help schools find ways to reduce their footprint. If you want to know what your school’s carbon footprint is contact Mike Zummack at michael.zummack@sunwestsd.ca.

None of this would be possible without the highly skilled and dedicated Sun West maintenance staff. One of the ways Sun West has reduced costs in facilities is by using Sun West staff instead of hiring contractors. Sun West maintenance staff have really stepped up to the challenge!