NORTH VANCOUVER - Heritage restoration and seismic upgrades to 100-year-old Ridgeway Elementary were put on show at the official reopening of the school.
Education Minister George Abbott and North Vancouver MLA Naomi Yamamoto attended the celebration, which was kicked off with a rousing "O Canada" led by former Ridgeway teacher Richard Loney, who has sung the anthem at Canucks games for 40 years.
Total cost of the updating was $21.5 million, with much of the funding for the heritage restoration work coming from the sale of surplus North Vancouver school district land. The project created an estimated 135 jobs.
The qualities that put this North Vancouver landmark on the Canadian Registry of Historic Places were carefully brought back to life as part of the work:
- Local granite was sourced to match the original granite where sections were added.
- Exterior trim was restored to the original 1911 colours.
- Fir flooring was reused in the heritage hall.
- The original clock in the cupola has been restored and is working again.
As part of the upgrade, many green features were incorporated into the school:
- Storm water management.
- Resilient flooring made from natural products.
- Roofing made of recycled rubber tires.
- Retention of mature trees (some estimated to be 100 years old) originally planted by staff and students.
The school has a number of features to ensure accessibility:
- Washroom and shower facility for the physically challenged.
- Two parking stalls reserved for the physically challenged.
- Wheelchair accessibility to all three floors via elevator.
A Neighbourhood Learning Centre was added during the upgrade and now houses a much-needed child-care area managed by North Shore Neighbourhood House.
North Vancouver board of education chair Franci Stratton -
"Ridgeway Elementary honours a central place of education in the history and future of this community. By working together with the Ministry, the City of North Vancouver and the development community we achieved an innovative funding solution to support not only rebuilding a school, but preserving its heritage."
"As a landmark of learning on the North Shore, history, sustainability and accessibility meet as one in Ridgeway Elementary."
- The Province has invested close to $87 million for capital projects in the North Vancouver school district.
- Since 2001, the Province has committed more than $3.9 billion in school capital and maintenance projects throughout B.C.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education