A location has been selected for the $12.2 million Gibsons Elementary School rebuild- — the north field where the upper playground now sits.
The location was announced by School District No. 46 (SD46) this week, after plans were first shared with staff, students and school parents.
“The new school will be two storeys but it will be partially sunk into the hill, so from Gibsons Way it will only look like one storey,” said Nicholas Weswick, secretary treasurer for SD46.
School board chair Silas White said the selected location “maximizes the level of natural light” in the school and that it supports the board’s “environmental objectives to achieve LEED gold standing.”
The upper playground will have to be removed during construction, which is slated to begin this spring.
“The first phase of the construction will include enhancing the lower all-weather field and relocating and constructing a lower play area to make up for the loss of the play area on the upper side of the school,” White said.
The front of the new school will face School Road and a large parking lot with wide drop-off zones for students will be created once the current school is torn down.
Plans released by SD46 this week also show space for a community garden and outdoor amphitheatre.
The current Gibsons Elementary School was built in 1950 and was scheduled for a seismic upgrade, but a study done in 2007 showed that constructing a smaller, more energy-efficient school on site would be more cost-effective.
In 2012 the province dedicated money to build a new school, and after much public consultation, SD46 selected Bouygues Building Canada Ltd. and KMBR Architects to take on the project for a fixed project price of $12.2 million.
The company plans to start building the new school this spring and expects to have the project completed by the time school starts in 2014.
During the build construction areas will be cordoned off with fencing and special care will be taken to ensure the safety of staff and students.
The new school will have room for 340 students as well as a Neighbourhood Learning Centre for the community. White is excited to see building begin.
“The design and layout of the new school is indisputably state-of-the-art, optimizing space for student learning and safety most importantly, as well as community use in the Neighbourhood Learning Centre,” White said.
“As both a trustee and parent at the school, I definitely share the absolute excitement these plans have been met with by parents, staff and trustees alike. Within the budget and enrolment capacity that was awarded to us by the provincial government, this school exceeds all the dreams and expectations that we’ve been hearing and discussing as a community for the past decade.”
SD46 will schedule a community presentation of the plan next month, Weswick said. In the meantime, you can find out more on the SD46 website at www.sd46.bc.ca.