Students at North Vancouver’s Ecole Handsworth Secondary should be starting classes in a brand new school in early February.
North Vancouver School District Superintendent Mark Pearmain told trustees the final touches on the $68.7-million rebuild are being finished this month, after almost two years of construction.
Concrete exterior walkways are being installed and “our furnishings are being delivered as we speak and are in process of being installed,” he said.
Students and teachers will start the new semester in 2022 in the new school, he said. Demolition of the old school is expected to start at the end of February.
Handsworth is the second major school construction project to be completed in North Vancouver in the past year.
In January 2021, students at Argyle Secondary started classes in their brand new school.
Handsworth will be a bigger school than Argyle when it is completed – it is being built to a capacity of 1,400 students, compared to Argyle’s 1,300.
The school district is still in discussions with the Ministry of Education on the next capital projects on its wish list – an expansion of Lynn Valley Elementary and approval of a new elementary school on the site of the former Cloverley Elementary.
The school district initially asked to expand Lynn Valley Elementary to allow 100 more students. But Pearmain said ideally the school district would now like to increase the expansion to capacity for 150 more students at the school. “We’d actually like to add on a couple more classrooms if we can,” he said.
Neither the Lynn Valley expansion nor the new Cloverley school have received approval from the ministry with money earmarked for the projects, although Pearmain said he is hopeful that will happen soon.
The district also has a second elementary school in lower or central Lonsdale on its wish list, to take the pressure off nearby schools in the area.