Diamond Jenness Secondary School Renovations

March 14, 2013
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

(March 14, 2013) - Mr. Speaker, I would like to update Members on the renovations recently completed by the Department of Public Works and Services at the Diamond Jenness Secondary School in Hay River.

Diamond Jenness Secondary School was originally designed by well-known Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal and has supported the delivery of education programs in the Town of Hay River for over 37 years. Public Works and Services, working with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, recently completed a major mid-life retrofit designed to extend the life of the facility while reducing operations and maintenance costs through improved energy efficiency.

In the successful delivery of this project, we are pleased that much of the original character of the building has been preserved in the upgrading of the school including the original exterior colour.

In addition to a complete retrofit of the original school, this project also included a new trades shop to provide opportunities for students to consider apprenticeship and career development in areas such as automotive mechanics, welding and carpentry which are much needed skill sets in our Northern workforce.

In extending the life of the school this retrofit included a number of technical enhancements to conserve energy and improve its performance including:

  • Energy saving lighting controls with occupancy sensors.
  • The introduction of efficient, long lasting, low maintenance LED lighting fixtures throughout the concourse of the school - a first for Government of the Northwest Territories public infrastructure anywhere in the North.
  • Improved roof, windows, and building envelope with higher insulation levels and an improved air barrier to enhance comfort while saving energy.
  • A complete energy efficient ventilation system upgrade with heat recovery to improve the overall environment and performance of the school.
  • A modern building control system operating in conjunction with the biomass district heating system to improve operational efficiency and overall energy management, and
  • Improved access and security for after-hours community programs.


In line with our government’s commitments to pursue energy efficiency and sustainability, Diamond Jenness Secondary School is now more energy efficient than ever before thanks to significant improvements to the building envelope and the installation of these energy saving technologies and heat recovery systems.

Mr. Speaker, these energy improvements are expected to decrease the school’s annual electricity consumption by 235 megawatt hours each year; a reduction of approximately 40%. Additionally, heating requirements will also decrease by 1700 gigajoules annually, equivalent to displacing 66,000 litres of propane or 44,000 litres of heating fuel each year. Thanks to innovative design, technology use, and energy improvements, the renovated Diamond Jenness Secondary School is expected to perform approximately 40% better than the 1997 Model Energy Code for Buildings.

Mr. Speaker, in delivering high quality energy efficient building projects on behalf of the GNWT, Public Works and Services recognizes that local and Northern involvement in our construction industry is an important part of the Northern economy. I am pleased to confirm that:

  •  78% of the funds spent on goods and services for this project went to Local and Northern businesses, and
  • 73% of the labour force was Northern and 57% of these Northern workers were local from Hay River.

Mr. Speaker, the mid-life retrofit of Diamond Jenness Secondary School was successfully completed on budget with a construction cost of $28.2 million. With 78% of the goods and services provided by Northern businesses and 73% of the labour by Northern residents, this project demonstrates the significant economic benefits that can be achieved through the GNWT’s infrastructure program.

Throughout the life of this project there were 12 local and Northern workers who participated as apprentices, four of whom have since received Journeyman certification, fostering the skill development of our residents and strengthening our Northern workforce.

Mr. Speaker, midlife retrofits such as those completed at the Diamond Jenness Secondary School are allowing the GNWT to preserve and enhance our existing infrastructure, improve program delivery, reduce energy consumption, and prolong the life of our facilities. The GNWT’s investment in this mid-life retrofit has extended the service life of this facility for another 20 to 30 years and has reduced the GNWT’s deferred maintenance deficit by $20,072,547.

Mr. Speaker, throughout this project the project team worked closely with school administration to create a schedule that minimized disruptions to the school’s day-to-day operations. Flexibility and cooperation by all stakeholders throughout the delivery of the project was key to its success and is a model for future projects.

PWS is pleased to have been a partner in the delivery of this important project for the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and the residents of Hay River, and I hope that the community and students will enjoy and make the most of the new school for years to come.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.