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School reno, building boom in SD43

The new $12.5 million James Park elementary school in Port Coquitlam is nearing completion. Students are likely to move in October. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
The new $12.5 million James Park elementary school in Port Coquitlam is nearing completion. Students are likely to move in October.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

School District 43 is embarking on a significant building boom. Several seismic replacement projects are underway and a few will open this fall and winter

The new James Park elementary school is taking shape in Port Coquitlam and is expected to open to students soon. SD43 superintendent Tom Grant said teachers will prepare classes in September, with a mass move likely to occur once everything is in place in October.

The $12.5-million project is an architecturally pleasing edifice with lots of windows that overwhelms the current single-storey cinderblock school next door and it will house a neighbourhood learning centre with community programs.

Also in PoCo, the $20-million replacement for Pitt River middle school is under construction and expected to open this winter with community assets such as an aboriginal welcoming centre and centre for sports excellence.

Some preparatory work is also being done for a $49.5-million replacement school for Coquitlam's Centennial secondary, located west of the current building. Grant said construction for the new building, which will include a neighbourhood learning centre but keep a recently built community centre, will be phased over three years. New parking lots are being created around the school board office and some utilities are being moved to make way for construction.

Other projects in the hopper include planning and construction for a $23-million middle school in Anmore and a similar-sized replacement school for Moody middle.

Sir Frederick Banting middle school in Coquitlam and École des Pionniers de Maillardville in Port Coquitlam, the latter run by the  Conseil Scolaire Francophone board, will get seismic upgrades costing more than $35 million.

Building new schools also means realigning existing programs and starting new ones.

"There's a ton of work," Grant said.

 

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