Seismic upgrades are on the way for Chief Maquinna Elementary school, which will allow parents to send their children to a safer school.
“Investments that keep students safe will always be paramount to our government,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “We’re investing in seismic upgrades at a record pace – twice as fast as the last government – and we’ll continue that momentum so students can be in seismically safe schools as soon as possible.”
Government has approved a maximum budget of $12.2 million to upgrade Maquinna. This is the 10th school to be approved for upgrades in Vancouver since September 2017, with a total investment of nearly $242 million, creating about 6,200 safe seats, with more to come.
“Families in Vancouver have had to wait too long for safer schools for their kids and this is a welcome investment in our community,” said Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings. “Our government is making great strides in better protecting our students, and I can’t wait to see that continue so even more local students have a safer place to go to school.”
Located in East Vancouver, Maquinna was built in 1953 and expanded in 1959. A May 2018 assessment found the entire school to have a risk of damage in an earthquake.
“I’d like to thank the ministry for providing the funding to upgrade Maquinna Elementary,” says Janet Fraser, chair of the Vancouver School Board. “We are now one step closer to ensuring all our students attend seismically safe schools.”
With work approved to proceed, the Vancouver School District is moving the project forward. This will include the use of swing space during construction. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020 and be complete by fall 2021.
“The students of Maquinna Elementary will be in a building that is seismically safe, which means the structural components of the building will be replaced where impacted by seismic work,” said Suzanne Hoffman, superintendent of the Vancouver School District.
Government is committed to providing every B.C. student with a seismically safe school. Budget 2019 provides a record $2.7 billion for school capital investments, including $791 million to further accelerate the Seismic Mitigation Program.
Since September 2017, Government has approved over $1.1 billion for seismic upgrades, new and expanded schools, and land purchases for future schools. This includes $580 million for seismic upgrades at 31 schools, making 19,695 seats safer for students.
The Ministry of Education also supports a project office dedicated to clearing the backlog of seismic projects throughout the Vancouver School District.
To connect with the Vancouver School Board, visit: https://www.vsb.bc.ca/
For more information about B.C.’s Seismic Mitigation Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/seismic-mitigation
A backgrounder follows.