A new $14-million elementary school serving a rich cultural tapestry of students was officially opened this week.
During the ceremony students welcomed Education Minister Peter Fassbender, Vancouver School Board Chair Patti Bacchus, MLA Andrew Willkinson, Superintendent Steve Cardwell, Musqueam Elder Shane Pointe and students, parents, teachers and school board representatives in all of the school's 21 languages.
J.W. Sexsmith Elementary was originally built in 1912. A seismic assessment, done in 2004, indicated that the school was a high-risk facility. Under the province's Seismic Mitigation Program for schools, further study determined that a complete replacement school would be more cost effective than a seismic upgrade of the original building.
"The replacement of J.W. Sexsmith School is an important milestone for this community and the Vancouver School Board," said Bacchus. "We have been working hard to ensure all Vancouver schools are seismically upgraded, and we are pleased to see this project completed. We look forward to continuing to work with government to address the remaining high-risk schools."
The new J.W. Sexsmith is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold standard and features a geothermal heating and cooling system. Extensive playground areas, a bright, spacious library and an atrium highlight the school's design.
The school now has capacity for 390 kindergarten to Grade 7 students. Included in the new building is a Neighbourhood Learning Centre. The centre provides community office space, music rooms and an area for pre-schoolers and out-of-school care.