Class Notes: Queen Elementary portables to stay

Portables will remain at Queen Elizabeth elementary and Queen Elizabeth Annex at least until 2016.

The Vancouver School Board decided at its last meeting of the school year to move General Gordon elementary students to Queen Elizabeth during Gordons seismic renewal to make up for an anticipated $2 million budget shortfall, instead of phasing construction and keeping students onsite, as previously planned.

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General Gordon will be the third school to occupy the portables at Queen Elizabeth elementary. Jules Quesnel students used the portables starting in September 2009 and students who will attend Norma Rose Point school are expected to remain at Queen Elizabeth elementary until July 2014.

Queen Elizabeth staff and parents told the board they were concerned about extra wear and tear on the schools and playground as well as traffic problems. They said they were frustrated that previously promised capital improvements remain unaddressed, according to a VSB memorandum.

Fourteen classroom portables operate at Queen Elizabeth elementary at West 16th Avenue and Camosun Street. Five portables will accommodate General Gordon students at Queen Elizabeth Annex at Crown Street and West King Edward Avenue.

The school board is improving the playfields at the main school and playgrounds at both and expects to have Wi-Fi at both Queen Elizabeth sites in September. The interior of Queen Elizabeth elementary will be renovated.

Hopefully when [parents] do see improvements, theyll see the hardship of hosting the school is going to mean theyre going to get some improvements done, said Jay Hiscox, project manager for the school board. They would never get this level of improvement done to the school because were so hard pressed for dollars.

Queen Elizabeth elementary sits on a large site adjacent to Camosun and Pacific Spirit parks. It includes two gymnasiums, a multipurpose room and two activity spaces. Theres no other school in the system that has two gymnasiums, Hiscox said.

School board staff will undertake a feasibility study this fall to carry out long-term planning for a West Side swing space. It is unreasonable to think that we may not have to come back again to Queen Elizabeth, Hiscox said.

He noted the school board installed sprinklers for fire safety at the portables at Queen Elizabeth elementary after Jules Quesnel students departed.

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