Students, staff and parents of Queen Mary Elementary joined government and VSB officials to celebrate the official opening of their new, seismically safe school.
The school was upgraded under the Province's Seismic Mitigation Program. The project at Queen Mary included was a partial replacement of the school retaining and upgrading the original 1914 red brick heritage building and adding new wings to replace the other buildings that had been on site. The beautiful new space has clusters of classrooms and commons spaces to support 21st century learning, along with a sunny foyer and multipurpose space, a gym, a library, and a music room. There are two kindergarten classrooms and 14 elementary classrooms for students in grades 1-7.
"Students and staff at Queen Mary Elementary now have a safe, state-of-the-art school to call home," said Dianne Turner, VSB's Official Trustee. "It's wonderful that we were able to retain some of the heritage aspects of the school while creating a beautiful modern learning environment that will withstand a seismic event. It's a priority for the Vancouver School Board to move as quickly as possible to get all our students in safe, updated schools like this one."
Queen Mary's recently retired principal, Kathleen O'Sullivan, oversaw the seismic project and was invited to the official opening by current principal, Hugh Blackman. "We were able to keep our school community together and on site during the construction, thanks to 'Portable City.' Six classrooms and a gym were built on the gravel field to support the classes and daycare while renovations occurred," she noted. O'Sullivan acknowledged the support of the PAC during the process, particularly with the heritage windows, landscaping and providing an extra playground for the younger children.
"The school is so open and welcoming with its many windows and open hallways," said Grade 6 student Rosie Johnson. "We love our new playground and amphitheatre areas. We know that all students here love our new school."
The official opening included speeches, tours of the school, and enthusiastic performances of several songs by a choir of students in grades 3-5.
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