For the first time in more than a century, students at Sir James Douglas Elementary are beginning the school year in a new $15.4-million replacement school.
Among visitors to the new building today were Education Minister Peter Fassbender and Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview, who joined Vancouver school board chair Patti Bacchus, district staff, students, teachers and parents as they celebrated the grand opening of the new facility.
Replacement of the original Sir James Douglas Elementary was supported in 2005 as part of the Province's comprehensive Seismic Mitigation Program. The new school has capacity for 585 K-7 students, allowing the removal of four portables previously being used on site.
At the new Sir James Douglas Elementary, a 21st-century design concept links pods of classrooms with a large common area. Classrooms have doors and walls that can open to the commons area for shared learning opportunities. Outside, a unique landscape feature of semi-circular ramps and small boulders provides student seating in an area that can be used as a small amphitheatre or outdoor classroom.
The new building has a Neighbourhood Learning Centre that houses a variety of community programming such as multipurpose rooms for out-of-school care, community office space, and music rooms and space for pre-schoolers.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
"Making sure students in this province are safe and secure is a key priority. I'm very proud of the results our Seismic Mitigation Program has delivered to date, especially here in the Vancouver school district where 20 high-risk schools have been upgraded or replaced, four are proceeding to construction and 25 more have been supported and will move forward in the near future."
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice/MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview -
"Sir James Douglas Elementary has served this community for over 100 years, and this beautiful new building should continue that legacy for another century. As a former teacher, I can appreciate how important a safe and modern building is to students."
Patti Bacchus, chair of the Vancouver school board -
"Parents in the James Douglas Elementary community were strong advocates for school seismic safety. This is a wonderful day for them and for the Vancouver school board."
- The original Sir James Douglas Elementary was built in 1912. In 1949, a three-storey classroom block was added along with a two-storey gym wing.
- Since 2001, 44 capital and seismic projects worth more than $280.9 million have been completed in the Vancouver school district, including funding for additional space for Full Day Kindergarten.
- Since 2001, the Government of B.C. has spent or committed $2.2 billion to seismically upgrade or replace 213 high-risk schools. It is anticipated it will cost a further $600 million to address the remaining 102 high-risk schools in the province.
- Since 2001, government has spent more than $2.5 billion to complete 99 new and replacement schools, 151 additions, 27 renovations and 26 site acquisitions throughout B.C.
Vancouver school board: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/
The Ministry of Education's Seismic Mitigation Program: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/capitalplanning/seismic/
BC's Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education