- BC Games
Qayqayt school project on the mark
In addition to bringing happy times for sun worshippers, this summer’s dry weather has been a rare piece of good news for the New Westminster schools project.
Construction for the new Qayqayt elementary, which began in April, has been moving along smoothly with several sections of the foundation sprouting up on the site at Royal Avenue and Merrivale Street that formerly housed St. Mary’s Hospital. If the timeline continues as planned it should be ready to house about 550 students from kindergarten to Grade 5 by the start of the 2014-15 school year next September.
“They’re moving ahead pretty much on schedule. It’s been a pretty nice summer as far as weather goes so it’s been good for their site work so they’ve basically maintained our schedule,” said schools project coordinator Jim Alkins.
“Having the dry conditions with the soil on that site was helpful. When the soil is wet it becomes softer and is more difficult to work with and to compact. To have those dry conditions it allowed us to avoid those problems.”
Alkins said the site’s steep topography could have made surface runoff difficult to deal with if the soil had been wet. The weather has been good news for the district, which has been beset with several roadblocks for more than a decade in resolving its space issues.
“It’s been a good project,” said Alkins. “It’s a real positive to have the construction going ahead.”
The project’s budget was announced at $13.5 million, not including the $8.5 million the province spent in 2010 to purchase the property.
Once Qayqayt is opened, the district will close John Robson elementary and begin building a $17.6 million middle school on its Eighth Avenue site.
Alkins said the same three firms that were shortlisted for Qayqayt have made the middle school shortlist as well.
Bouygues Building Canada, DGS Construction and Yellowridge Design/Build—the successful bidders for Qayqayt—are in the process of producing concepts for the district to consider.
Alkins said the district is expected to choose in October or November, with the winning bidder developing a more detailed design in time to begin construction in the summer.
The new middle school, which has yet to be named, will accommodate 500 students in grades 6 to 8.