Getting more students into seismically safe schools is the goal of today's announcement by Education Minister Mike Bernier and Vancouver School Board official trustee Dianne Turner that they are directing the Vancouver Project Office (VPO) to look for ways to fast-track seismic upgrades or replacements in Vancouver.
Given the number of seismic projects to be dealt with in Vancouver, the Province and the Vancouver School Board are directing the VPO to look for creative solutions and unique opportunities to complete upgrades more quickly.
"In Vancouver and throughout the province we need to make sure that we are tackling projects with the greatest needs and the greatest number of students," Bernier said. "Having the Vancouver Project Office dig in and look for creative ideas will help us advance more seismic projects faster. With the VPO's expertise, we will build on the more than $200 million worth of seismic projects underway in Vancouver today."
The announcement came after Turner invited Bernier to meet with the Vancouver Project Office team (pictured) and discuss ways to move seismic projects ahead in the community.
"We welcome the minister's willingness to work with Vancouver School Board through the Vancouver Project Office to come up with options to advance the critical seismic work needed at more than half of our schools," said Turner. "We now have the opportunity to find ways to speed up these projects to achieve safer schools faster for our students."
The VPO was established in 2014 as a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Vancouver Board of Education to complete Vancouver seismic projects as quickly, efficiently and economically as possible.
Since the launch of B.C.'s globally recognized and award-winning Seismic Mitigation Program in 2004, 21 of the district's 89 high-risk schools have been seismically upgraded or replaced and nine projects worth more than $200 million are underway in the Vancouver school district. Throughout B.C., the Province and school districts have completed 160 seismic upgrades or replacements totalling $1.2 billion.
Since 2001, government has spent over $234 million and is committed to spend another $566 million for a total investment of over $800 million to ensure schools in Vancouver are seismically safe for students.
The following projects are currently underway in Vancouver:
- Dr. Annie B. Jamieson Elementary - $13.1 million seismic replacement;
- Sir Sandford Fleming Elementary - $25.9 million seismic replacement;
- Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith Elementary - $11.6 million seismic upgrade;
- Lord Nelson Elementary - $17.9 million seismic replacement;
- Lord Strathcona Elementary - $25.6 million seismic upgrade;
- L'Ecole Bilingue Elementary - $15.2 million seismic replacement;
- Kitsilano Secondary - $57.8 million seismic upgrade and replacement;
- Queen Mary Elementary - $19.1 million seismic upgrade; and,
- Lord Tennyson Elementary - $24.5 million replacement
Over the next three years, B.C. will invest $1.7 billion to replace and renovate aging school buildings and add more student spaces in growing communities.