Students at École Irvine Elementary school can look forward to learning in a new seismically safe school, Minister of Education Rob Fleming announced today.
“Students, staff and teachers at Irvine have been in a high-risk, overcrowded and aging school for too long,” said Fleming. “Families want better for their children, and that’s why we are investing to fully replace Irvine with a new, larger and safer school where students can focus on learning.”
The Province is investing $24.3 million for the replacement of the school. The construction of 115 new student spaces will increase capacity to 80 kindergarten and 425 elementary spaces, up from the current 40 kindergarten and 350 elementary spaces. The new school will have a neighbourhood learning centre to support school and community needs, and a new and improved drop-off area and parking lot.
“We are very pleased to receive this funding to replace Irvine Elementary school,” said Kerri Palmer Isaak, chair, School District 43 (Coquitlam) Board of Education. “Providing exceptional facilities is important to us, and we appreciate the support of this government in recognizing the need for replacing and upgrading older schools in our school district.”
“This is great news for students, staff and parents in Coquitlam,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Port Coquitlam MLA Mike Farnworth. “I’m looking forward to seeing a bright, brand-new, seismically safe school that will be an asset for the entire community.”
Irvine was built in three phases between 1969 and 1971. All three parts of the school must be replaced to ensure the safety of students, teachers and support staff in the event of a large earthquake. The school is currently operating over capacity, and is in poor condition compared to the average B.C. school.
Construction on the new Irvine is expected to begin in spring 2019. The school will be built adjacent to the existing building, where students will remain during construction. Once the new school is complete in fall 2020, the old school will be demolished.
School District 43 (Coquitlam) has a strong track record of delivering capital and seismic projects on time and on budget. This project builds on the four other seismic replacements currently underway in the district, for a total of almost $148 million. There are nine seismic projects remaining in School District 43 (Coquitlam).
Since Sept. 1, 2017, the government has announced nearly $200 million to upgrade or replace 13 high-risk schools, including today’s announcement.
Government is addressing the backlog of seismic and capital projects throughout B.C. to ensure students have safe learning environments. This includes encouraging collaboration between the Ministry of Education, school districts and local governments to meet ambitious timelines and reduce the time it takes to complete projects. Government is also working to cut wait times for school construction by accelerating the funding approval process.