It's a busy time for Vancouver school district facilities staff. As millions of British Columbians head back to school, it's their job to manage and push forward the planning, development and construction of half a dozen new cutting edge schools around the district.
There's a lot to be proud of. Out near UBC, the district is currently busily working away on two large projects including a new secondary school on the grounds of the former National Research Council building and the development of a new elementary school on the site of University Hill Secondary School. Planners are excited about both buildings and particularly about the new secondary school, which features LEED Gold power saving features, glass walls throughout and an innovative 21st century learning commons. Planners say the school's layout is specifically designed to maximize collaborative teaching and learning.
A 15 minute drive will take you to another soon to be finished school. At Kitchener Elementary, the district's planners, architects and construction teams have managed to save a large heritage wing of the old school, which has been moved and then reconnected to the new school, which features a 21st century learning environment. Large sliding glass garage doors can be easily lifted to create huge learning spaces. Meanwhile, students will be able to take full advantage of art and science projects with the customized Da Vinci classrooms that adorn each wing of the new school. Next to the classrooms is a large gym and community activity room.
Across the city, the new Sexsmith Elementary is also swarming with construction crews. The new school sits atop a hill a stone's throw away from the Langara Golf Course. It overlooks the older Sexsmith Elementary school and boasts a modern crescent design with lots of glass windows to maximize natural light. Northeast of Sexsmith, landscape planners are putting the finishing touches on a gorgeous new turf activity field and adventure playground. Nestled behind Laura Secord Elementary, the new school park even has a mini-amphitheatre for small school productions.
Near downtown Vancouver, district staff are currently in the initial stages of negotiation and planning with the City of Vancouver and Ministry of Education to build two brand new elementary schools for Southeast False Creek (near the Cambie Bridge) and off Expo Boulevard (near Rogers Arena). Both schools are intended to help ease the growing demographic demand for school spaces in Yaletown and the Olympic Village.
It's a busy timeline, but one that's aggressively aimed at seismically upgrading schools and meeting the growing demand for new school space in various parts of the city.
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