New mass timber elementary school opens in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood (PHOTOS)

Apr 14 2023, 3:32 am

Students at Bayview Community elementary school are now enjoying new modern earthquake-resilient facilities.

Grand opening celebrations were held Thursday for the new school building at 2251 Collingwood Street — located on the city block on the northwest corner of Collingwood Street and West 7th Avenue, near the westernmost edge of Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood and about two blocks east of the future Jericho Lands redevelopment with 18,000 homes.

It has a capacity for 365 students, featuring two kindergarten classrooms, 13 classrooms for grades one to seven, two multi-purpose rooms, a library, a large gymnasium, and a neighbourhood learning centre with a pre-school and before- and after-school care.

The provincial government provided $24.5 million for the construction of the new building, which is a complete replacement of the previous 1913-built building.

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The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Vancouver School Board)

bayview community elementar school vancouver

Location of Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

bayview community elementar school vancouver

The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture)

The previous building — deemed highly seismically unsafe — was demolished in 2019 to enable the construction of the modern building on the same footprint on the east side of the city block, with students temporarily moved to other nearby schools during the years-long construction process.

“As a parent, I know there’s nothing more important than knowing that your children are safe at school,” said Premier David Eby.

Designed by Francl Architecture, the two-storey, 38,000-sq-ft building is a mass timber structure using cross-laminated timber (CLT) products prefabricated by Kalesnikoff Mass Timber & Lumber.

The exterior and structural walls, floors, and roof use CLT from Spruce trees, while the columns and beams use glue-laminated (glulam) from Fir trees. Some of the interior’s mass timber surfaces have been left exposed to create warmth and character for the learning spaces.

bayview community elementar school vancouver

The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture)

bayview community elementar school vancouver

The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Francl Architecture)

As well, two wood heritage components from the previous heritage school building have been incorporated into the new building, including an arched window built in 1913, and a set of vestibule doors built in 1929.

“As a School Board, our top priority is the safety of our students and staff,” said Victoria Jung, chair of the elected trustees of the Vancouver School Board (VSB) with the ABC Vancouver party.

“With the construction of this new school, we have not only achieved seismic safety, but also made a commitment to sustainable practices. By utilizing innovative technology, we are paving the way for a brighter, greener future for our students and the community.”

In late 2022, a similar new mass timber school building in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood reached completion, replacing the previous seismically unsafe building of Sir Matthew Begbie elementary school — now renamed with the Musqueam First Nation name of wÉ™kĚ“Ę·anĚ“É™s tÉ™ syaqĘ·É™m.

bayview community elementary school vancouver

The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Fast & Epp)

bayview community elementary school vancouver

The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Fast & Epp)

bayview community elementary school vancouver

The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Fast & Epp)

Near the easternmost edge of Kitsilano, construction recently began on the new seismic replacement of Henry Hudson elementary school.

Within Vancouver School Board jurisdiction, other seismic replacement projects currently being built include Eric Hamber secondary school and David Lloyd George elementary school. Seismic renovation construction work is also currently being performed on Edith Cavell elementary school and David Livingstone elementary school.

In 2024, construction is expected to reach completion on the $71-million, 11-storey building next to the Coal Harbour community centre on the waterfront of downtown Vancouver. It will provide a new additional VSB elementary school — a three-level, 43,000-sq-ft facility for 340 students — along with a childcare facility for 46 kids, and 60 units of family-oriented social housing.

bayview community elementary school vancouver

The new replacement building for Bayview Community elementary school at 2251 Collingwood Street, Vancouver. (Fast & Epp)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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