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Safe school, more classrooms will benefit hundreds of Richmond students

More classrooms and a seismically safer school will give F.A. Tomsett Elementary students a better learning experience by 2022.

“We are continuing to accelerate seismic safety projects in Richmond at a record pace, so more students can be in a safer school as soon as possible,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “When this project is complete, families with children at Tomsett will have the comfort of knowing their children will be better protected if an earthquake were to hit.”  

The Government of British Columbia is providing up to $7.71 million for seismic upgrades at Tomsett, with the Richmond School District providing $3.67 million for a total budget of $11.38 million. The district’s contribution allows for a 95-seat addition at the school, which will ease crowding and prevent the use of portables.

Construction is expected to begin in summer 2020. The addition will be built first to accommodate students while the seismic upgrade work is underway, allowing for a phased approach to construction. This means students will not need to move off-site and will be in a safer school faster. The project is expected to be complete in early 2022.

“We are extremely pleased to be receiving funding from the Ministry of Education to seismically upgrade Tomsett Elementary,” said Ken Hamaguchi, chair, Richmond School Board. “The Richmond Board of Education is committed to working with the ministry and, as such, will be providing funds for the expansion of the school to accommodate anticipated growth in the city centre area.”

The Province is working to clear the backlog of needed seismic upgrades throughout Richmond. Six seismic upgrades have been approved since September 2017 at a total value of $62.4 million, creating 3,045 seismically safe seats.

In less than two years, the Province has approved more than $636 million for seismic upgrade projects at 34 schools throughout B.C. to create 20,431 safe seats for students.

Budget 2019 provides a record $2.7 billion for school capital investments, including $791 million to continue accelerating the Seismic Mitigation Program so all B.C. students can be in a seismically safe school as soon as possible.

Quick Facts:

  • F.A. Tomsett Elementary is a kindergarten-to-Grade 7 school that was built in 1959 with additions in 1984, 1988 and 1999.
  • The school’s current capacity is 248 students. Without additional space, projections indicate it would operate at 171% in the next decade.
  • Between 2010 and 2017, only one seismic upgrade was approved in the Richmond School District.
  • In spring 2018, the Ministry of Education established a Richmond Project Office, dedicated to clearing the backlog of seismic projects so more students could be in seismically safer schools as soon as possible.
  • Since September 2017, the Province has funded six seismic upgrade projects at Richmond schools:
    • Hugh Boyd Secondary – $10.7 million
    • Robert J. Tait Elementary – $7.6 million
    • W.D. Ferris Elementary – $8.49 million
    • Mitchell Elementary – $11.4 million
    • Manoah Steves Elementary – $12.8 million
    • F.A. Tomsett Elementary – $11.38 million

Learn More:

For more information about the Seismic Mitigation Program, visit:

To connect with the Richmond School District, go to:

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