Today: Thursday, December 14, 2017, 11:00 am (PST)

Hundreds of Vancouver children getting safer schools

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Vancouver: Hundreds of children in Vancouver will be learning in new, seismically safe schools, with the replacement of Sir Matthew Begbie and Bayview elementary schools, announced Premier John Horgan.

“Every child deserves to go to a safe, secure and healthy school,” said Premier Horgan.

“Parents have been waiting too long for action to make our schools more earthquake safe. That’s why we are accelerating seismic upgrades throughout the province.”

As part of the Budget 2017 Update, the government is investing $46.9 million to replace Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary school and Bayview Community Elementary school, both of which are at high risk of collapsing in an earthquake. The new schools are scheduled to welcome students in late 2021.

The new, $22.4-million Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary school will be built on a new footprint of the existing property, allowing students to remain at their home school during construction.

The current Bayview Community Elementary school has a high seismic risk and will be demolished while a new, $24.5-million school will be built on the same footprint. The entire Bayview school community will be moved to temporary accommodations when construction begins, and will return to a brand new, seismically safe school that incorporates 21st century learning standards.

“Parents need to feel confident their children are safe at school,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming. “Accelerating seismic upgrades and replacements is a key part of our government’s commitment to delivering the services people count on.”

Both new schools will also include Neighbourhood Learning Centres, which benefit local residents by providing access to education, community services, recreation and culture.

Government is speeding up the pace of seismic upgrades throughout B.C. by encouraging collaboration between the Ministry of Education, school districts and local governments to meet ambitious timelines and reduce the time it takes to plan and build a school and by accelerating funding approvals.

“We are very pleased to have the Premier announce funding for two seismic replacement schools in Vancouver, one on Vancouver’s east side and one on Vancouver’s west side,” said Vancouver School Board official trustee Dianne Turner. “We are working together with the provincial government to move our seismic projects forward as quickly as possible. It is a priority for our entire district to get students into seismically safe schools as soon as possible.”

The Province will work with Seismic Mitigation Program experts, including Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia, to look for ways to more efficiently and cost-effectively meet and exceed the building code for seismic safety.

Quick Facts:

  • Bayview Community Elementary was originally built in 1913 with additions in 1929 and 1962. It was selected as one of 45 high-risk seismic mitigation projects announced in 2013 to proceed to planning under the Seismic Mitigation Program.
  • The new Bayview school’s nominal capacity will be 365 students, which is unchanged from the previous building.
  • The option to replace Bayview is budgeted to cost about $12 million less than a seismic remediation of the existing school.
  • Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary school was built in 1922, with another block added in 1949. It was one of 16 high-risk seismic mitigation projects announced in 2005 to proceed to planning under the Seismic Mitigation Program.
  • The new Begbie school will have nominal capacity for 340 students, which is 150 fewer than the current school, but more than current and projected enrolment.
  • Government committed $522 million over three years for seismic upgrades throughout B.C.

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