Clearing and excavation for the new high school in Willoughby is nearly complete.
Mounds of heavily rooted tree trunks dot the northeast playing fields at R.E Mountain Secondary, while construction equipment is busy getting the ground ready for the school foundation.
The request for tender for the general contractor to build the $55.2 million facility closed this week (Aug. 28). The contractor will be announced in early September.
“From there, they will mobilize forces to start work in October,” said Langley School District secretary-treasurer David Green. The high school is on track to be built on time and on budget, said Green.
The high school, to be located adjacent to Mountain Secondary, will have a capacity of 1,500 students and will open its doors for the 2019/20 school year.
The new secondary school will be more than double the size of Mountain which will be converted to a middle school once the high school opens.
The high school is being designed with the new curriculum in mind, said Langley School District Superintendent Gord Stewart.
The learning spaces will look a lot different than traditional classes, with more open rooms for collaborative learning, fewer desks, wider hallways for learning, more open foyers to be used as learning space and for displaying student work, as well as much more glass to allow in natural light.
RC Garnett Expansion
Meanwhile, the first floor of the R.C. Garnett Demonstration Elementary is framed with the second storey going up next week, confirmed incoming secretary-treasurer Brian Iseli.
“We are on schedule to transition students into the new addition in January 2018,” said Iseli.
The $3.9 million addition will include one kindergarten room and seven general classrooms, and will increase capacity from 315 to 510 students.
LSS Retrofit and Seismic Upgrades
One of the most complicated projects being undertaken by the district is the $26 million retrofit and seismic upgrade to Langley Secondary, the district’s oldest school.
The work began during the last school year, and will continue in phases, mainly during school breaks, like spring and summer, to be completed in 2020.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. We are moving students around when we start working on a section of the building,” said Iseli. “There is a project manager and a lot of co-ordination going on between the principal and project manager.”
The first tear-down is taking place this fall.
“We anticipate students will be in the new retrofitted buildings by 2019, with total completion of things like landscaping, etc., by 2020,” he said.
Future School for Latimer
The provincial government earmarked $7.2 million to acquire land for a new elementary school in northeast Latimer.
But purchasing land for a future elementary school is proving to be a challenge for the local district. Land prices have skyrocketed in this red hot real estate market.