VANCOUVER – Today students, families, teachers and staff celebrated the completion of the newly replaced, seismically safe Lord Nelson Elementary; which includes the first rooftop childcare facility in Vancouver schools.
As part of the celebrations, representatives from the Ministry of Education, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver School District took part in an official ribbon cutting event.
"It is a top priority of the Vancouver School District to ensure all students attend seismically safe schools as quickly as possible," says Janet Fraser, Vancouver School District Board Chair. "The new Nelson Elementary brings us another step closer to making all schools in the District seismically safe."
As part of the Seismic Mitigation Program, the Ministry of Education allocated $17.9 million to fully replace Nelson Elementary.
"The new Lord Nelson Elementary is a great example of how the Seismic Mitigation Program is providing students with safe, modern places to learn," said Minister of Education Rob Fleming. "Our government has worked at a record pace with over $800 million already announced for seismic upgrades at 39 schools, including 10 in Vancouver, and we'll continue accelerating these investments, so every B.C. student can thrive in learning spaces where everyone feels safe."
The new seismically safe school also includes a Neighborhood Learning Center (NLC) where the greater school community can use the space, as well as the District's first rooftop childcare facility. Funded by the City of Vancouver through Development Cost Levies and a $500,000 capital contribution from the Province, the childcare facility will house 69 children aged zero to five with a dedicated outdoor rooftop play area.
"The opening of the childcare space at Lord Nelson Elementary is a great example of the City's long-standing partnership with the Vancouver School Board. It will provide childcare to help our little ones thrive, support new parents as they return to work, and avoid unnecessary trips by car," said Mayor Kennedy Stewart, City of Vancouver. "Co-locating childcare with schools helps build communities that are more walkable and family-friendly, one more way we're making sure Vancouver is a city that works for everyone."
"We recognize schools are a vital and central part of the community and that's why we've built a new and improved school that will not only benefit our students, but also the rest of the neighborhood," says Suzanne Hoffman, Vancouver School District Superintendent. "Combining a childcare facility with a school means that young learners in Vancouver will have an even better start on their path to success in school."
The replacement school incorporates 21st century design to optimize flexible learning spaces and maximize student collaboration. It will also include a state-of-the-art facility built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard and support B.C.'s new curriculum with modern and open learning spaces.
"This new rooftop childcare centre shows what's possible when a local government thinks outside the box to find innovative solutions to support the families they serve," said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. "Building child care spaces at an elementary school not only helps kids smoothly transition from child care to the classroom, but makes mornings easier for parents who can drop off children of different ages at one location."
"Our government is committed to strengthening communities by ensuring students and families have positive, engaging and inspiring learning environments," said Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings. "With the addition of a Neighbourhood Learning Centre and childcare facility, the new Lord Nelson Elementary is going to benefit families and children for generations to come."
"Lord Nelson parents and community have been working hard for many years to fundraise for this project," says Jen Hickey and Leah Kimura, Nelson Elementary Co-PAC Chairs. "We're so happy to now have our children in a beautiful new and seismically safe school."
- The majority of the original Lord Nelson Elementary was constructed in 1910, almost 110 years ago.
- Construction of the new school began in November 2016 and was completed in August 2019.
- There are currently 475 kindergarten to grade seven students enrolled at Nelson Elementary.
- The Ministry of Children and Family Development provided $500,000 to support the creation of the childcare centre.
- Vancouver City Council has set a target of facilitating the creation of 1,000 new licensed childcare spaces in 2019-2022.
- The non-profit childcare operator Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House, will also run Junior K program and school age care programs at Lord Nelson, providing a 'one stop' approach for families and an easier transition to kindergarten.
- Sir Sanford Fleming Elementary and Lord Tennyson Elementary will be the next upcoming VSB facilities to incorporate childcare services through this partnership with the City.
- Other schools with rooftop childcare in development are David Lloyd George Elementary and Eric Hamber Secondary.