Students and staff at Mitchell Elementary and Manoah Steves Elementary are returning to seismically safe schools next week thanks to record investments in upgrading or replacing high-risk schools throughout the province.

“September is always an exciting time in education, and this year students and staff at Mitchell and Manoah Steves Elementary schools will return to safer and more modern buildings,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “Every child deserves a safe place to learn and grow, and I am proud of the work we are doing to make schools in B.C. safer every day.”

More than $24 million has been invested for the seismic upgrades at Mitchell Elementary and Manoah Steves Elementary.

Since September 2017, the Government of B.C. has invested almost $115 million for seismic upgrades or replacements at 10 Richmond schools, giving almost 4,365 students a safer place to learn.

Mitchell Elementary is the longest continuously operating school in the Richmond public school system. Students remained on site during the recent upgrades.

Manoah Steves Elementary updates include replacing the main entrance and administration offices (the oldest section of the school) and upgrading the classrooms and gymnasium to make the entire school safe in the event of an earthquake.

“We are pleased to have received funding from the Ministry of Education to seismically upgrade both Mitchell Elementary and Manoah Steves Elementary,” said Sandra Nixon, chair, Richmond Board of Education. "Now that these projects are complete, students and staff will be returning this fall to safer, updated learning environments. The board is fully committed to working with the ministry to improve the safety of all of our facilities and will continue to do so moving forward.”

To further support Richmond students and staff with seismically safe learning environments, construction is also underway on the following Richmond schools:

  • Maple Lane Elementary (seismic upgrade), expected to open in winter 2021
  • Tomsett Elementary (seismic upgrade and addition), expected to open in spring 2022
  • James McKinney Elementary (seismic upgrade), expected to open in spring 2022
  • James Whiteside Elementary (seismic upgrade), expected to open in fall 2023
  • William Bridge Elementary (seismic upgrade), expected to open in fall 2023

These projects are part of the Province’s work with B.C. school districts to provide all students with access to seismically safe seats as soon as possible.

Budget 2021 includes almost $3.5 billion for school capital investments, including new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and site purchases to ensure land is in place to accommodate fast-growing communities throughout the province.

In the past four years, the Government of B.C. has approved more than $1.2 billion in seismic upgrades or replacements at 58 schools provincewide, so more than 31,400 students can be better protected at school during an earthquake.

Quotes:

Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough

“Seeing students arrive for the first day of school is always a pleasure, and these seismic updates are an important reflection of the care this government has for the people of B.C. Mitchell Elementary has a long history in the community and now it will continue to be a safe place of learning for generations to come.”

Kelly Greene, MLA for Richmond-Steveston –

“Seismic upgrades at Manoah Steves Elementary are part of our government’s efforts to keep students and staff safe in the event of an earthquake. As a parent with children in the Richmond public school system, I deeply appreciate the collaboration of the school board to swiftly complete these important projects.”

Andrew Scallion, president, Richmond District Parents Association

“As parents in Richmond, we are pleased to finally see the investment in needed seismic upgrades over the last few years and moving forward with Mitchell and Manoah Steves Elementary schools. It is comforting to know the Ministry of Education is putting a priority on the health and safety of the students of Richmond.”

Learn More:

For more information about Richmond School District 38, visit: https://www.sd38.bc.ca/

For more information about major public school capital projects underway, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/major-capital-projects

To learn more about B.C.’s Seismic Mitigation Program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/seismic-mitigation