With the rising cost of real estate and affordable housing, some families question their ability to raise their children in Vancouver. While some choose to relocate to cities like Victoria, Kelowna or Prince George, many others wish to remain in the Lower Mainland to stay close to their jobs, families and friends. One of the most attractive and yet under-sought places is New Westminster. With five SkyTrain stations servicing the city, New West is a quick and easy commute from the downtown Vancouver core. The city itself is extremely family-oriented, with over 45 parks, 12 schools, the Royal Columbian Hospital and several post-secondary institutions. The steady influx of families has shown that New West is the new place to be.
Parents want to ensure that their children’s schooling needs will be met. They will be reassured to learn that New West is home to a growing private school with a new facility being built just steps away from Braid SkyTrain Station. Urban Academy, established in 2001, is building a new, larger campus for students in Junior Kindergarten through to Grade 12. The new building will be five storeys tall and have over 50,000 square feet of space for students to learn, play and explore. Taking advantage of its convenient location, just steps from Hume Park, the school serves families from all over New West, the Tri-Cities, Burnaby and beyond.
Says Cheryle Beaumont, Head of School at Urban Academy: “The community has really responded to and enjoyed having a secular private school available to them as a choice. The new school in particular makes it really accessible for residents of Port Moody and Coquitlam and makes it easy for New Westminster residents to attend as well.”
Moving to a new community can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know anyone. Parents who are looking to get involved in the community are encouraged to participate by way of the parent volunteer program. Urban Academy’s various committees, including the Parent Auxiliary, ensure a strong conduit of community, allowing parents to get to know each other, while banding together to benefit the school and the children.
Beaumont continues: “All of our parents commit 35 hours of volunteer time to the school community every year. They can do that volunteer service in many ways. One committee is parent auxiliary where they provide services to the school like the hot lunch program and uniform sales. They also do an amazing job every year of a great community gala.”
Anyone with fears about beating rush hour traffic after work to pick up their child from school can also rest easy. Urban Academy’s Out of School Care program runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the school year, allowing parents and caregivers the ultimate flexibility when it comes to balancing work and home responsibilities. For families who are unable to drive or take transit, the school also offers a morning bus service with multiple pick-up locations running from North West Burnaby to the school.