Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Don McRae celebrated the official grand opening of the new $55.7-million Burnaby Central Secondary school today with students, parents, teachers, school board officials and local dignitaries.
"This wonderful new school will benefit students, teachers and the larger community for many years to come," said Premier Clark. "It is an investment in our future and an excellent example of our government's commitment to providing bright, modern learning environments for B.C. students."
The new Burnaby Central includes a student commons centre. The new gathering space for students is used for studying and special events. It is at the heart of the new school and located next to the new cafeteria, gym, studios and theatre. Another feature includes the school's new cafeteria kitchen, which is a professional-style food preparation area, and is also used for the district's ACE-IT chef-training program for secondary students.
"Burnaby Central is an outstanding educational facility and one we can all be proud of," said Education Minister Don McRae. "Through superb design and quality teaching, Burnaby Central offers students a broad range of educational opportunities so they can explore their learning passions and ensure their future success."
Skills training opportunities include a three-bay automotive shop, large woodworking area and an electronics lab for technology education. A new 225-seat theatre provides performance space for the drama and music departments.
Other features consist of an acoustically designed choir room for the school's 100-member award-winning choir and a special wrestling room for the school's championship wrestling team.
"Not only is this school a leader in energy efficiency, but it also offers cutting-edge training facilities for Burnaby students," said Burnaby North MLA Richard T. Lee. "I am pleased to see local students given every advantage as they complete their high school education. The performance centre will also be an excellent venue for special community events."
Burnaby Central is also the first school in Burnaby to be built entirely - from design to completion - to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard. To further improve energy savings, every classroom and the hallways have light sensors.
The new school is built for a school population of 1,300 students and replaces the original classroom block that was built in 1957. Construction took place over a three-year period, creating approximately 350 jobs.
"Burnaby Central was rebuilt to provide a seismically sound environment, but the benefits extend well beyond that," said Larry Hayes, chair, Burnaby board of education. "The new more energy-efficient Central has state-of-the-art skills training facilities, a competition sized gymnasium and dedicated theatre, and a gathering space that puts students at the centre, a key design consideration that was by student request. We are grateful to the Province of B.C. who put our students at the centre to make this new school a reality, and for a partnership with the City of Burnaby and the development of Central's world-class track and field facility."
Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested more than $131 million to complete 15 capital and seismic projects in the Burnaby school district. As well, the Province has invested more than $5.6 million for additional space for full day kindergarten.
Over the past year, the B.C. government has committed $353 million in funding for new school and school expansion projects and more than $122 million as part of its seismic mitigation program to provide structural upgrades at 14 high-priority schools.
Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested more than $2.1 billion to complete 93 new and replacement schools, 150 additions, 27 renovations and 22 site acquisitions throughout British Columbia.
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