Seismic Upgrade/Facilities Plan

Seismic Upgrading

Our Seismic Project Identification Report (SPIR) indicated that our school is ranked H1:  Most vulnerable structure; at highest risk of widespread damage or structural failure; not repairable after event. Structural and non-structural seismic upgrades required.  The ranking varies according to the various buildings in the school:

  • Main Building – High Risk
  • Gymnasium – Moderate Risk
  • Wood Frame Classrooms – Moderate/High Risk

The next stage of our upgrade process — called the Project Definition Report — was originally due to begin in January 2015. However, the VSB and the provincial government established a Seismic Project Office to oversee all new upgrades. During the transition, our PDR was delayed.

The cost of the whole project won’t be completely known until the completion of the PDR. The PDR will confirm the scope of this work, and the structural costs, and will also add nonstructural elements in order to come up with a total project cost. At that time there will be projected costs of an upgrade, a replacement, or a combination.  To only structurally upgrade the building is approximately $6.5 million.

The PDR has started as of December 2015 and will take ~6 months to complete.  It may take another 6 months to approve the PDR (Ministry Support/Project Agreement).  Following the PDR, it can take 3-4 years for design and building. **Update** we were told at the Jan 2017 PAC meeting that those timelines are no longer valid.  Instead our PDR may take up to 1 more year (Jan 2018) to get approved and another 4-6 years to design and build.

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There is currently a vacancy for the District Principal, Field Services, Office of the Superintendant, VSB, who serves as liaison between the VSB and schools and parents for the seismic upgrading of VSB schools. At the November 2015 PAC meeting we were introduced to our project manager, Natasha Saksman, who will be working with us through this process.

It’s reasonable to expect more parent involvement after the project definition report when the planning and design work starts.   This is likely to be in late 2016/early 2017, if Ministry approves the project.  *Update* this has been delayed again due to the VSB cancelling the school closure process, which caused the seismic project office to redraft of all PDR’s in progress as they had planned to use the closed schools to house students during construction.

The VSB has recently created a progress update page specifically for General Wolfe: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/district-facilities/projects/wolfe-elementary. The Vancouver School Board has more information on its seismic page.

**General Wolfe has been in the news for seismic delays – General Wolfe Parents Concerned, Minister of Education’s Reponse 2017.

Long Range Facilities Plan

the VSB has posted it’s updated long range facilities plan in early 2016 (http://www.vsb.bc.ca/VSBengagement) which gives more information about all Vancouver school facilities, including seismic upgrading planning but also new school construction, school closings and other information relevant to the buildings.

The consultation process has finished and the Board of Trustees approved a proposal based upon stakeholder feedback on Tuesday 24th May. Stakeholder feedback taken from the Ipsos Survey identified the top priorities for VBE schools as:

  • Innovative and supportive learning environments
  • Seismically safe buildings

A significant majority of those people said they would be supportive of closing schools if it meant:

  • speeding up seismic upgrades (67%)
  • building new schools in areas of growth (72%)
  • combining two neighbouring schools to build a new school (67%)
  • a closed school could be used for community services (70%)
  • reducing VSB operating costs (56%)

It is the intent of District staff to provide a preliminary list of possible school closures for Board consideration on June 20, 2016. The earliest that schools on this list can be closed will be September 2017.

Key VSB seismic/capital plan documents:

  1. long range facilities plan to achieve 95% occupancy
  2. VSB 2015/16 capital plan  (appendix K on page 63 shows Wolfe’s seismic risk factor and FCI – facility condition index [>10% is considered poor condition], as well as district ranking of schools)