VANCOUVER – B.C. Premier John Horgan has announced plans to replace two Vancouver schools due to earthquake safety concerns.
The province will invest $46.9 million to replace Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary school and Bayview Community Elementary school, both of which are at high risk of collapsing in an earthquake, explains a release. The new schools are scheduled to be ready for students in late 2021.
"Every child deserves to go to a safe, secure and healthy school," said Horgan in a statement. "Parents have been waiting too long for action to make our schools more earthquake safe. That’s why we are accelerating seismic upgrades throughout the province."
To limit disruption to students, the new $22.4-million Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary school will be built on a new footprint of the existing property, allowing students to remain at their home school.
However, Bayview’s seismic risk is so high that officials will demolish it while a new, $24.5-million school will be built on the same footprint, the release explains. The entire Bayview school community will be moved to temporary accommodations when construction begins.
In addition to seismic upgrades, both the new schools will also feature Neighbourhood Learning Centres, which give local residents access to education, community services, recreation and culture.
Bayview Community Elementary was originally built in 1913 with additions in 1929 and 1962. It was selected as one of 45 high-risk seismic mitigation projects announced in 2013 to proceed to planning under the Seismic Mitigation Program.
Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary school was built in 1922, with another block added in 1949. It was one of 16 high-risk seismic mitigation projects announced in 2005 to proceed to planning under the program.
The province has promised to spend $522 million over three years for seismic upgrades throughout B.C.