Class Notes: Seismic feedback sought for Kitsilano secondary

(Note: This story has been updated since first posted July 25)

The contractor for Kitsilano secondary schools seismic renewal is to be chosen by the end of the summer and the school board wants feedback on the competitors proposed designs.

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The Vancouver School Board is holding an open house on the seismic renewal at the school Aug. 1.

We are trying very hard to make sure the community is aware and to get input from them, said board facilities planner Anne Lee. It is a terrible time, but were doing the best we can given the circumstances.

The project board, composed of provincial and school board representatives, didnt want to delay the open house and slow the project down, Lee said.

Lee couldnt share details of the designs that will be unveiled on display boards at the open house, due to an agreement with Partnership B.C., the provincial agency that helps plan, deliver and provides oversight to major infrastructure projects such as hospitals, roads and bridges. Partnership B.C. is assisting with the competitive selection process for construction of the renewal project and its representatives are advisory members of the project team.

Teams from Bouygues Building Canada, EllisDon Corporation and PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. are competing for a design and construction contract.

The Ministry of Education approved the nearly $60-million project in late 2011. The retention of a 1927 heritage façade and phasing of construction to allow the schools 1,500 Grade 8 to 12 students to remain on site make the project more costly and complex.

The project board has changed the requirements for the scheme to allow for greater design flexibility for proponents to meet the project budget. The building size was reduced from 17,952 to 16,000 square metres. The school board approved the use of portables so the successful proponent wont have to renovate space in the school for interim classrooms. Wider but half-height lockers for students will be required to allow more daylight into the school design and the all-weather field wont need lighting.

Parents and residents have provided input on an advisory committee and were informed of the changes to the project requirements.

The company that wins the contract for the seismic renewal will have to apply to the city for a development permit, which should allow further community input.

The open house runs from 4 to 8 p.m. at 2550 West 10th Ave. in the gymnasium.

General Gordon elementary

The West Kitsilano Residents Association has started a petition to save the old yellow schoolhouse at General Gordon elementary.

The timber building was to be retained and relocated to another corner of the school site during the schools seismic renewal, but any move means the city would require upgrades to the structure that money from the provincial government doesnt cover. A staff parking lot is slated to go where the old schoolhouse stands and residents want the parking lot placed elsewhere.

But Jay Hiscox, project manager for the school board, said the citys engineering department wants to widen the 12-foot lane between Sixth and Seventh Avenues to the standard width of 20 feet. The schoolhouses present location obstructs that goal. Discussions with the city and residents continue, according to Hiscox.

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