New Central gym delayed
While the new Burnaby Central secondary building is a year old, students will have to wait another couple of months before they'll have a new gymnasium to go with it.
The delay is due to the wet weather this spring, explained Russ Sales, Burnaby school district's director of facilities.
"You need the moisture out of the concrete before you can put the wood [floor] in."
Once that moisture is gone, the wood flooring needs to sit in the space for three to four weeks to acclimatize before crews can begin laying it down, Sales said.
Crews started laying the floor on Aug. 27, which will be followed by finishing work and landscaping outside the new wing before the gym opens for use, likely in late October, he said.
In the meantime, said Central principal Garth Errico, students will continue on with what they did last spring when the old gym was demolished, such as using facilities at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex nearby, the school's student commons area and possibly its dance studio.
Sales said students will also have the use of the lower rugby field and the asphalt running track, which won't have the permanent rubber surface installed until next summer.
Burnaby city hall will be installing the artificial turf field inside the track, which can't be laid in rainy weather, meaning that likely won't be done until late fall or spring.
When complete, the track will be eight lanes instead of six as it was on the old one, and it will be oriented north-south, based on prevailing winds, to meet international track standards, said Errico.
As for the gym, it will have new bleachers that fold into the wall. So while the overall floor area will be larger, the bleachers will take up some of that space now that the balcony-like bleachers are gone.
"Now you'll get closer to the action," Errico said.
As for the rest of the district, seismic upgrading at Gilmore elementary is nearing the home stretch.
Sales said completion of that project, which first started with preliminary upgrades in 2001-2002, will be December at the earliest, noting that "because of the age of the building, we keep finding anomalies" that require more work.
After that, all the district's remaining seismic upgrading priorities will be in the planning and study stages. Alpha secondary was announced earlier this year as a high-priority project approved by the education ministry. Before it reaches the funding stage, it must undergo detailed feasibility studies.
Other Burnaby schools on the ministry's priority list, which also must be studied to determine where they fit on that list, are Montecito and Stride elementaries and Burnaby North secondary, said Sales.
"We're hoping we're going to be first out of the gate again to receive funding."
With summer the busiest time of year for the district's facilities department, returning students will notice changes at some schools.
Enrolment increases have led to one additional portable being installed at each of Nelson and Cameron elementaries, said Sales. Edmonds elementary saw upgrades to its library space.
Then there's the projects most families don't see. Numerous boilers have been replaced with more energy-efficient hybrid systems, with the work now complete at about half of the district's schools.
And after a couple years of installing lighting upgrades, about 95 per cent of schools now have sensor lights so lights only come on if someone is in a room, and older, less-efficient ballasts have been replaced.
Facilities crews were hard at work in the last week leading up to the first day back at school.
"There's a very small window of opportunity to do the work," said Sales.