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Backgrounder(s) & FactSheet(s):Factsheet



For Immediate Release


March 7, 2005

Ministry of Education




VANCOUVER – The first 80 schools to be upgraded over the next three years as part of the Province’s $1.5 billion plan to make B.C. schools earthquake safe were announced today by Education Minister Tom Christensen to mark the start of Education Week.


“No other government in the history of this province has committed to such a major investment in protecting student safety,” said Christensen. “We’re fast-tracking seismic projects at 80 high-priority schools so that students will be protected as soon as possible.”


The Province has budgeted $254 million for improvements to the 80 schools. Fifty-six of the schools are located in the Lower Mainland, 19 on Vancouver Island and five in other coastal communities. Additional schools in Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Victoria will be selected following further consultation with these school boards. Projects include major structural improvements and upgrades of classrooms, gymnasiums and offices. 


The schools were selected based on an extensive seismic assessment conducted by engineers using an assessment tool developed in co-operation with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C. Schools were then prioritised based on the number of high-risk components, the seismic hazard zone and soil type.


More than 700 schools will be upgraded over the next 15 years or sooner as part of the Province’s plan to make B.C. schools earthquake safe. The plan fulfils a commitment made in the speech from the throne.


“The priority for parents is the safety of their children,” said Terri Watson, president of B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. “We’re very pleased that the government is moving on that priority with the seismic upgrading of those schools that are urgently in need. We also look forward to the day when all schools are up to the current standards for seismic safety.”


Planning for the projects will begin immediately, with construction set to start by 2006.


In addition to the $254 million, another $70 million in previously announced funding is budgeted for seismic mitigation in 2006/07. This includes $50 million for major structural projects and $20 million for minor projects and debt servicing.


Since 2000-01, the Province has increased funding to B.C. public schools by more than $440 million: $305 million for district operating grants and $138 million for special, one-time grants. During the same period, enrolment has declined by more than 29,000 students. Next year’s funding increase of $150 million is the largest in more than a decade, and will help school districts continue to focus on improving student achievement.



Download a poster of a map with the locations of schools to be seismically upgraded at: online.


For information on AchieveBC, visit online.



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Public Affairs Bureau

Ministry of Education

250 356-5963


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