Vancouver's St. George’s School aims to expand

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      Vancouver’s tony St. George’s School wants an upgrade.

      St. George’s has embarked on what headmaster Tom Matthews and board chair Lesley Bentley described in a joint statement as its “largest and most ambitious” fundraising campaign for a campus makeover.

      It’s aiming to raise an “initial” $40 million to expand its high-school facilities and renovate its elementary spaces.

      One of Canada’s most expensive private schools for boys, St. George’s has produced the likes of investment tycoon Peter Brown and luxury-train-tour owner Peter Armstrong, the current president of the Non-Partisan Association.

      The development project is part of what Matthews referred to—in an information package for a community open house—as the “overall goal of establishing St. George’s as a world leader in the education of boys”.

      “We believe that boys learn differently than girls and therefore our facilities must facilitate boy-centric instructional practices that are varied and engaging,” Matthews stated.

      The plan seeks to create more flexible, open learning spaces in the elementary school. It will also replace portions of the school with new spaces for athletics, music, and the arts. These will require development and building permits from the City of Vancouver.

      Changes being eyed for the secondary school would require a public process. According to its website, the institution filed an application last December to rezone its high-school site from single-family dwelling to comprehensive-development district.

      An approved rezoning would allow St. George’s to proceed with its phased development plans. Phase one involves a three-storey boarding house—with 120 dormitory units and associated staff residences—and two three-storey academic buildings.

      For phase two, St. George’s plans to make a 177,130-square-foot addition to its main secondary-school building. Phase three includes another three-storey boarding house with 120 dormitory units and associated staff residences.

      The high-school redevelopment will have 54 surface and 111 underground parking spaces.

      St. George’s rezoning application talks about its vision of being “recognized as Canada’s World School for Boys”. “They aspire to be a school of international significance, one that will graduate young men with a global outlook who are able to meet the challenges of a complex and rapidly changing world,” states the application’s architectural rationale. “Through its diversity, our student body will be more representative of the larger world beyond our campus.”

      St. George’s charges $18,995 and $21,355 in tuition fees for local elementary and high-school students. International elementary and secondary students pay $28,655 and $31,020, respectively.

      The school anticipates that if its rezoning application is approved by Vancouver city hall by the end of this year, it will be able to apply for a development permit in 2015 or 2016.

      St. George’s will host a community open house on-site (4175 West 29th Avenue) on Monday (September 22) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.