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Seismic upgrades give Burnaby students safer schools

Seismic upgrades give Burnaby students safer schools

February 23, 2021 at 9:00 am  BC, News, Politics

Students and staff will be safer in Burnaby schools, thanks to accelerated investments in seismic upgrades and replacements that are complete or underway at four local schools.

“All parents deserve the comfort of knowing their children will be safe at school in the event of a major earthquake,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “That’s why our government has acted fast to upgrade and replace high-risk schools throughout the province. I’m pleased families are seeing the results of our continued collaboration with the Burnaby School Board to improve schools for students, and look forward to seeing even more students learning in seismically safe schools.”

In the last four years, the Government of B.C. has announced over $143 million for seismic upgrades at Armstrong, Parkcrest and Seaforth elementary schools, as well as the replacement of Burnaby North Secondary school. These projects will provide a safer place to go to school for over 3,000 students in the district.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our students, and these four projects will have a lasting impact in our community,” said Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North. “While we have come a long way, we know there is more work to be done to provide a safe school for every student in B.C. Our government is committed to continuing to make progress towards that goal.”

In spring 2020, the seismic upgrades at Armstrong Elementary were completed. Upgrades have begun at Seaforth Elementary and will soon begin at Parkcrest Elementary.

Construction is also underway for the replacement of Burnaby North Secondary. Once complete, it will provide students with a modern facility designed for 21st-century learning for generations to come.

The replacement will also feature a new neighbourhood learning centre that will offer adult basic education, as well as a stand-alone child care centre funded through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and the City of Burnaby. Together, these facilities will create more than 120 new licensed child care spaces, including before- and after-school care.

“Building child care centres on school grounds makes life easier for parents and helps prepare young children for a successful transition into the K-12 system,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care and MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed. “Creating new child care spaces at Burnaby North Secondary school will help more families find affordable, quality and inclusive child care in our community.” 

The seismic upgrades at Parkcrest, Seaforth and Burnaby North are each expected to be complete in September 2022.

Each of these projects are part of government’s work to provide a seismically safe school for every B.C. student as soon as possible.

Since September 2017, the Province has approved over $1.1 billion for seismic upgrades or replacements at 54 schools, giving more than 30,000 students a safer learning environment.

Quotes:

Jen Mezei, chair, Burnaby Board of Education –

“Providing a safe environment for students and staff is a priority we share with the Ministry of Education, and we are pleased to work with them to upgrade our schools. We are grateful for our partnerships with the provincial government, City of Burnaby and others that have enabled us to ensure major projects, such as Burnaby North Secondary, help our greater community thrive by supporting child care, adult learning and language development programs.”

Mike Hurley, mayor, City of Burnaby –

“The City of Burnaby welcomes these priority investments in seismic upgrades. Our schools are important neighbourhood hubs where our residents come together to learn, share and grow, and these proactive measures protect the health and safety of students, staff and the community. We’re also proud to work with our provincial and local partners to create new child care spaces as the Burnaby North replacement project moves forward.”

Laura Ward, chair, Burnaby District Parent Advisory Council –

“This government funding for seismic safety and new and upgraded schools helps alleviate some of the stress for families. Additionally, when we’re not dealing with a pandemic, schools in our district are often used as a hub for activities for the broader community, so this funding will impact not only students, staff and families, but the whole community, as well.”

For French and Punjabi translations: https://news.gov.bc.ca/23825#translations

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