Vancouver School Board to explore selling Westside school site

Apr 14 2023, 2:06 am

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) is initiating the process to dispose the Queen Elizabeth Annex elementary school site, including considering the possibility of selling the land.

The decision made by the School Board Trustees during Tuesday’s public meeting is to declare the 3.9-acre site at 4275 Crown Street in the Dunbar-Southlands neighbourhood a “surplus” property to the needs of the school district. It follows the recommendation by School Board staff to start the real estate property disposal process.

According to BC Assessment, as of July 2022, the property is worth $46.4 million, including $45.1 million for the land and $1.3 million for the structure.

Queen Elizabeth Annex is located on Vancouver’s westernmost border with Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Prior to the latest decision, the school’s future was already murky, following the June 2022 decision made by the previous makeup of School Board Trustees to permanently close the elementary school at the end of the current school year in late June 2023. Existing students could be transferred to nearby public schools in the area at the start of the new school year.

Queen Elizabeth School Annex 4275 Crown Street Vancouver

Queen Elizabeth School Annex at 4275 Crown Street, Vancouver. (Google Maps)

Currently, Queen Elizabeth Annex offers French immersion programming to students in kindergarten to Grade 3. It has a low enrolment of 71 students, which the VSB says has led to high operating costs of $11,288 per student — 40% greater than the provincial per student allocation of $7,885. Enrolment at this school has fallen by 8.4% over the past decade, and this trend is expected to continue.

Furthermore, the 1964-built school building — containing six classrooms — has a high seismic rating, and an estimated deferred maintenance cost of $2.6 million.

The closure of Queen Elizabeth Annex could save VSB up to $300,000 annually in operating costs.

A sale of the school property does not necessarily mean it would be redeveloped into non-school uses, such as additional homes for the single-family neighbourhood. It was previously suggested there has been interest from Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique, the French-language public school board in BC, to acquire the site through long-term lease or sale.

Revenue gained from the disposal of this school site could be used to help financially support VSB’s operations and stabilize its struggling financial situation.

Queen Elizabeth Annex is located immediately northeast of Saint George’s senior school campus, which is currently undergoing a major redevelopment for expanded and modernized facilities.

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