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School district eyes new school on Burnaby Mountain
Burnaby Mountain could one day get a second elementary school if the school district gets its way.
Such a school to join University Highlands elementary up by Simon Fraser University is sixth on the Burnaby school district's wish list of capital projects which was recently submitted the education ministry.
It was always in the plans to have two elementaries to serve the growing UniverCity residential development as well as the children of staff and faculty at SFU, said district secretary-treasurer Greg Frank.
It would be located somewhere on the southern end of the development and initially be home to 250 students, with the ability to grow to twice that, Frank said.
Second on the priority list is a new addition to University Highlands elementary on Burnaby Mountain which, only three years after opening, is "essentially full," Frank said. As a result, the last couple of years the district has been restricting access to the school to residents of the catchment area.
The requested addition, estimated to cost almost $4 million, would add eight classrooms to accommodate up to 400 students compared to the 200 currently.
But first, topping the wish list is a new elementary school to serve the Brentwood Town Centre area. As reported in the NewsLeader, the district would like the new school to have space for 240 students initially and Burnaby city hall has identified a potential site south of Lougheed Highway between Delta and Beta avenues.
On the capital plan, the project is estimated to cost $18.4 million for both the land and construction.
Third on the priority list is a $3.4-million addition to Cameron elementary, followed by seismic upgrades at Armstrong ($900,000) and Glenwood ($1.2 million) elementaries.
The district's seventh priority, out of the list of 15, is a $9.1-million addition to Byrne Creek secondary, which opened in 2005 and currently has portables on site.
Both Byrne Creek and University Highlands were originally built and conceptually designed to allow for future additions, thereby reducing the cost of such projects, Frank said.
Several schools—Montecito, Stoney Creek, Seaforth and Maywood elementaries—are on the list for building envelope projects, essentially repairs of issues commonly seen in leaky condos.
"We do have some failures with the outside building envelope and we're looking to do upgrades to repair that," he said. All those schools were built during the 1990s when many wood-frame structures experienced such problems.
At the bottom of the list, after HVAC upgrades to Stride, Aubrey and Nelson elementaries, is a $3.7-million request to acquire land for Burnaby South secondary.
The school district has had a plan in place for a number of years in conjunction with city hall to purchase area homes to eventually convert it to a combination park and school site expansion, Frank said.
A minor expansion is in the eventual plans but "our biggest shorter term problem is just lack of playfield space."
The capital plan has been approved by the school board and submitted to the education ministry which generally informs districts of their capital funding decisions sometime in the spring.
Meanwhile, the seismic upgrade of Alpha secondary is further along in the planning process having already received preliminary approval from the ministry, Frank said.
While the district's preference was to replace the school, the ministry indicated "that's not going to happen." The district is now working on a proposal for partial replacement of the school and seismic upgrades to the remainder.
There would be no expansion involved but the replacement section would be designed to allow for one in future, he said.