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.
Staff, students, members of the community and press, and representatives from the District, Board, and Ministry all joined in a celebration to open the new school. Musqueam representative Debra Sparrow welcomed staff and students to the traditional lands for the Musqueam people and two Musqueam members sang and danced to honour the day.
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 students, allowing the removal of four portables previously being used on site.
Patti Bacchus, chair of the Vancouver School Board, thanked parents for their hard work and dedication to the safety of the students.
"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," she said.
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.
As well, 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.
"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," said Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education.
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