On Monday morning Heritage Vancouver announced its annual list of the most endangered historical sites in the city and drew attention to public schools buildings by listing the 102-year old Sir James Douglas elementary in South East Vancouver as its No. 4 site.
But Janet Leduc, the executive director of Heritage Vancouver, said Ecole Bilingue at West 14th Avenue between Alder and Spruce streets could have "absolutely" been on that list in place of Douglas.
"And we might have if it had come up sooner," she said, referring to the recommendation the school board demolish the 102-year-old school formerly known as Cecil Rhodes elementary instead of upgrading the building to meet today's seismic standards.
School trustees will vote tonight.
On May 1, the planning and facilities committee heard a presentation from parents supporting the seismic upgrade. Trustees also heard from Allan Hepburn of the Colborne Architectural Group, who outlined four options, including a full upgrade, a partial replacement and two different scenarios for a complete replacement of the school.
Ninety-two people attended an open house March 29 to learn about these four options and others that have since been eliminated.
The recommended option is to tear down Ecole Bilingue and replace it at an estimated cost of $11.8 million. A full upgrade would cost an estimated $14.4 million.
If the demolition is approved, students will be temporarily transferred in September to classrooms at the South Hill Adult Education Centre at Fraser Street and East 44th Ave. near John Oliver secondary.
"This one came up as quite a surprise," said Leduc, who said the school board lacks a comprehensive strategy on upgrading aging schools with heritage value. "They announced it at the last minute, it seemed. Two of the proposals included demolishing the school."