North Delta’s Gibson Elementary School will be receiving a $1.6 million seismic upgrade.
That’s according to education minister Rob Fleming, who made the announcement Tuesday morning at the school alongside Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon and Delta School Board Chair Laura Dixon.
This is the last high seismic risk school left to be upgraded in the district. The Delta School District has successfully completed eight seismic mitigation projects on time and on budget — Gibson will be the ninth.
“Delta is a leader in British Columbia at seismic infrastructure projects,” Fleming said. “The fact that they will be completed when this project is done in a years time, speaks volumes to the ability of Delta to get on with important work.”
Upgrades at Gibson will include seismically strengthening the classroom wing and the gymnasium. Work is expected to begin in the summer of 2018 and be complete in time for the start of school in September.
“I’m very happy that by next school year, every student in the Delta School District will have the opportunity to succeed in a seismically safe school,” Fleming said. “This announcement is one step toward delivering on our commitment to speed up investments in school capital projects throughout the province.”
The B.C. government is committed to speeding up the pace of seismic upgrades throughout B.C., and is creating a plan to address the backlog of seismic projects in the province, Fleming said.
“We want to let British Columbians know that this is a very important file,” he said. “Making schools safe, delivering on realistic but ambitious timelines to seismic upgrade our schools is a key priority for our government.”
The government is encouraging collaboration between the Ministry of Education, school districts and local governments to meet ambitious timelines and reduce the time it takes to plan and build a school, and will work to cut wait times for school construction by speeding up funding approvals.
The province will also work with the seismic mitigation program experts, including the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C., to look for ways to more efficiently and cost-effectively meet and exceed the building code for seismic safety.
There are currently 64 school seismic projects underway throughout British Columbia.
“Our goal is to get every B.C. school district to the position that Delta school district is in as soon as possible, with every school completed and made seismically safe,” Fleming said.
– with files from Ashley Wadhwani and Grace Kennedy