Two new Vancouver elementary schools to be built for $26.7 million
The B.C. government and the Vancouver school board have signed project agreements to build two new elementary schools in the city.
The replacement of General Gordon Elementary in Kitsilano and construction of International Village Elementary near downtown Vancouver have an estimated total cost of $26.7 million.
Education minister George Abbott and Vancouver school board chair Patti Bacchus signed the two project agreements during a media event at General Gordon today (July 11).
“I have every confidence that these two new schools will provide safe, comfortable homes for students and educators for generations to come,” Abbott told reporters.
He said the funds for the two projects have been included in the provincial budget.
The replacement for General Gordon is to be built on the existing school site near Broadway and Macdonald Street for $14.7 million.
The new school is to accommodate 400 students in Grades 1-7 and 40 full-day kindergarten students.
It is also to include a neighbourhood learning centre that will provide services to community members including performance space, a computer lab, and a kitchen.
Construction work on the replacement school is expected to start this winter and to be completed by the end of summer in 2016.
While the project is moving ahead, the proposal to tear down the elementary school and build a replacement had met with opposition in the community.
“The challenge is that while it is a heritage building, close to 100 years old, it is also seismically a very risky structure and so the school board I think did the right thing,” Abbott said.
"The construction materials and so on just don’t lend itself to refurbishment. Replacement was deemed to be the best alternative and that’s I think the correct decision and how we’re proceeding here,” he said.
Bacchus told reporters the school board consulted with the public as part of the decision-making process. She acknowledged the existing building has some heritage value, but said many original features have been lost over the years.
“We looked at all of the information. We looked at input from the staff who work in the school, families in the school,” she said.
“There was a diversity of opinion for sure and that’s the nature of a very engaged neighbourhood.”
Meanwhile, International Village Elementary is to be built in the False Creek North area for $12 million. It is also to include a neighbourhood learning centre that will be a multi-purpose room.
International Village Elementary is to have space for 450 students in Grades 1-7 and 60 full-day kindergarten students.
Construction work on the new elementary school is expected to start in spring 2013 and to be completed by fall 2015.
“This is long-awaited and going to be very welcome and I know it’s going to become the heart and soul of that community and provide a really vibrant hub for the families there,” Bacchus said.