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Seismic upgrades give Mountainside Secondary students safer place to learn

March 31, 2023 at 10:09 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Students, staff and community members at Mountainside Secondary School are benefiting from the recent seismic upgrades to the school.

“I’m proud of the work we’re doing to make schools throughout B.C. safer. It is a top priority for our government to provide students with modern and safe learning environments,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care. “It’s great to see that seismic upgrades have been completed at Mountainside Secondary, making this valuable school and community space safer for students and staff.”

Mountainside is an important school in the North Vancouver School District, providing social, emotional and behavioural supports to students from grades 9 to 12, and allowing flexible pathways to graduation or school completion.

Strong student-staff relationships are key at Mountainside. Students find support through staff who are experienced creating individualized programs that support student success. As a community hub, the school is a gathering place for community members, local health authorities and other service providers that provide important programming, including art and music therapy. North Vancouver Online Learning, recently selected by the Ministry of Education and Child Care to join Provincial Online Learning Schools, is also located at Mountainside Secondary.

“Mountainside Secondary provides unique, individualized and innovative learning experiences for a uniquely diverse student population, many of whom have faced barriers to success within the traditional model of the school system,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. “Its value to our community is enormous and I’m proud of the investments our government has made to ensure a seismically safe learning environment for our youth.”

The Province provided $23.7 million for the Mountainside Secondary School upgrade project. Since 2017, government has invested $101.7 million to improve schools in North Vancouver, including $68.7 million for the recently completed seismic replacement and expansion at Handsworth Secondary, which increased the school’s capacity to 1,400 students. Now that work is complete at Mountainside Secondary, all students in the North Vancouver school district are learning in seismically safer schools.

“With the seismic upgrade project complete, we are simply thrilled for Mountainside Secondary students, staff and the wider school community,” said Kulvir Mann, chair, North Vancouver Board of Education. “On behalf of the board of education, I would like to thank the Ministry of Education and Child Care for continuing to work with and invest in the North Vancouver School District and providing yet another safe and healthy teaching and learning environment that meets the needs of students and staff now and in years to come.”

These projects are part of the Province’s work with B.C. school districts to provide students with access to seismically safe seats. In the past four years, the Government of B.C. has approved more than $1.3 billion in seismic upgrades or replacements at 60 schools provincewide. This means that more than 33,000 students are better protected at school.

Budget 2023 includes $3.4 billion to be invested in school capital projects over the next three years, including new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and land purchases for future schools.

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