Replacement for Vancouver’s Eric Hamber Secondary School may include auditorium

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      The Vancouver education district is looking at potential changes to the design of a new West Side school.

      The replacement for Eric Hamber Secondary School may include an auditorium and additional gym space.

      The changes are being explored following a public consultation last January.

      Parents and students have expressed concerns about the design of the $79.3-million replacement school, which could lead to loss of certain facilities, like the auditorium.

      Jim Meschino, the district’s director of planning and facilities, prepared a report to the school board regarding the results of public consultation.

      Concerns about the absence of an auditorium space, insufficient gym space, and shortage of field space were the top concerns noted.

      According to Meschino, district staff are “exploring potential options to include additional program areas such as an auditorium and/or increased gym space”.

      “Staff are currently calculating the possibilities based on the budget and area allocated by the Ministry of Education,” Meschino wrote in his report. “Once the options area costed, staff will engage the School Advisory Committee for further discussion.”

      The replacement school will be constructed on the northwest side of Eric Hamber’s location, taking up the space currently used as running track and playfield.

      During the construction, students will remain in the existing school, which is on the southeast side of the property.

      Eric Hamber is bound to the west by Oak Street, West 33rd Street to the north, Willow Street to the east, and Oak Meadows Park to the south.

      After the new school is completed in 2022, the old school will accommodate students from other schools that will be subject to seismic upgrades.

      According to the plan, a new playing field will be constructed at the location of the old school sometime in 2030 or later.

      Meschino’s report is included in the agenda of the school board on Wednesday (February 13).