Education Minister Peter Fassbender helped open the new $14-million J.W. Sexsmith elementary Oct. 15.
The new Sexsmith replaces the seismically unsafe old school in Marpole that was built in 1912 and expanded in 1950 and 1954. The new school for 390 kindergarten to Grade 7 students has been built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold standard and features a geothermal heating and cooling system. “It’s very open, bright, lots of natural light. It is just a beautiful facility,” Fassbender said.
He expects an announcement about seismic upgrades for Strathcona elementary to be made within weeks.
As for the old Sexsmith school, the Vancouver School Board needs to find a leaser willing to seismically upgrade the
The property remains embroiled in a court case with a Francophone school board that wants the education minister to order the VSB to lease it the
To be announced even sooner than a seismic project for Strathcona is a new framework for grades 3 to 9 under the B.C. Education Plan. Fassbender was tight-lipped on specifics.
“The challenge will always be how do we identify every individual student’s need in a system that has been structured towards… more of a collective approach,” he said. “So we’re trying to fine-tune that so we can be as targeted for every student as we can.”
Negotiators sat down this week to see whether a collective agreement with teachers can be achieved. The government hopes to reach a 10-year contract.
Fassbender said students from Windermere secondary told him over lunch that physical education should be a priority and they’re interested in the role technology will play in classrooms.
He said there would be no new money for education or playgrounds, but that the provincial government was working on building the economy with industries like liquefied natural gas to try to ensure more money for healthcare, social services and education.
Fassbender said parents at Sexsmith are raising money for a kindergarten playground.
“There’s never going to be enough money to do everything that everyone would like so when we can build cooperation with PACs and communities and collaboration with other community groups, that’s a positive for everyone,” he said.
Speaking of Sexsmith
Sexsmith is celebrating its centennial, Oct. 24. Anyone willing to lend memorabilia or photos for display should bring them to the school today (Oct. 18.) Visitors can check out the old and new schools from 4 to 7 p.m. Visitors 19 and older are welcome.
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