The B.C. government will provide $79.3 million to fully replace Eric Hamber Secondary, the largest seismic project in Vancouver’s history.
Eric Hamber Secondary serves 1,700 students in grades 8–12. It opened in 1962, and has had several additions and renovations over the years.
However, the structure needs further upgrading, and has been deemed high risk in the event of an earthquake. The new school will be built next to the existing one on the northwest corner of the site. Students will remain in the existing school during construction. This will prevent the need for portables and minimize disruption.
Other project options would have required a phased approach, resulting in a longer construction period, a higher price and classes moving into a substantial number of portables. Using the existing school rather than temporary accommodation during construction saves approximately $16 million in costs over the seismic upgrade.
“One of our priorities at the Vancouver School District is to ensure our schools are safe. Another is that our schools are inspiring learning environments for our students,” said Suzanne Hoffman, Vancouver School District superintendent. “It’s very exciting that we will soon begin to design and build a replacement school that meets both those priorities at Eric Hamber, for decades to come.”
The new school will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold standards. LEED gold schools are healthy, high-performance learning environments that include sustainable low-toxic materials, natural light, abundant fresh air, energy conservation, habitat protection and reduced demand on local landfills. The new school will also accommodate a child care facility.
Construction is slated to begin in summer 2020, and the new Eric Hamber Secondary is expected to welcome students in fall 2022.