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Richmond students return to seismically safer schools this September

Nearly 1,800 Richmond students in kindergarten to Grade 12 are starting the school year in four seismically safer schools.

“When students, teachers and staff walk through the front doors of their school, they deserve to feel safe and secure in the event of an earthquake. After years of underfunding and delay, we moved quickly to complete seismic upgrades at Cook, Tait and Ferris elementary and Boyd secondary schools,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “From the start, our government has made school seismic safety a priority, and these upgrades are another great example of the progress we’re making to improve schools for students in Richmond and throughout our province.”

The B.C. government has invested a total $39.78 million in seismic upgrade projects at William Cook Elementary, Hugh Boyd Secondary, W.D. Ferris Elementary and Robert J. Tait Elementary, creating 2,405 seismically safer seats.

“The Richmond Board of Education has made it a priority to ensure that our students and staff are learning in safe schools,” said Ken Hamaguchi, chair, Richmond School Board. “We are extremely proud to have added over 2,400 seismically safe seats in our district as a result of recent upgrades to Cook Elementary, Ferris Elementary, Tait Elementary and Boyd Secondary. These buildings will serve our local communities for years to come.”

At William Cook Elementary, along with the seismic upgrades, four new classrooms were added, replacing a section of the school. Government has invested $13 million toward this project, creating 555 seismically safer student seats. The Richmond School District contributed $1 million.

At Hugh Boyd Secondary, seismic upgrades and a partial replacement have created 800 seismically safer seats for students. The cost of the project was $10.7 million.

At W.D. Ferris Elementary, seismic upgrades have created 660 seismically safer seats for students in the one-storey building. The cost of the project was $8.49 million.

At Robert J. Tait Elementary, seismic upgrades have created 390 seismically safer seats for students at a cost of $7.59 million.

“Our students and staff deserve to know that they will be safe in Richmond schools,” said Scott Robinson, superintendent of schools, Richmond School District. “We are extremely pleased with the nearly $82 million that the provincial government has invested in seismic upgrades at eight Richmond schools over the last three years. The progress that has been made with these facilities brings us significantly closer to our goal of having all students and staff in seismically safe schools.”

Investments in seismic safety for students are a priority for the Government of British Columbia. Between 2010 and 2017, one school was approved for seismic upgrades in Richmond. In the last three years, government has announced nearly $82 million for seismic upgrades at eight Richmond schools, bringing almost 3,700 seismically safer seats to students in the district.

These investments make sure that Richmond students will be safer in the event of an earthquake, giving families the comfort of knowing their children are learning in a secure environment.

Provincewide, government has contributed over $1 billion for seismic upgrades and replacements at 50 B.C. schools, creating nearly 29,000 safer student seats. To continue this momentum, Budget 2020 includes a record $2.8 billion for school capital investments.

Learn More:

For more information about B.C.’s Return to School Plan, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/covid-19-return-to-school

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