New Richard McBride Elementary School gets ready to rise

School district has received a building permit from the city for the replacement school, which means the steel structure of the new building will soon start taking shape

The New Westminster school district has a building permit in hand from the City of New Westminster for the new Richard McBride Elementary School – and that means the steel structure will soon start taking shape at the Sapperton school site.

Dave Crowe, the school district’s director of capital projects, updated trustees on the construction project at their Sept. 15 operations committee meeting.

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“It continues to be a good news story. It’s one of the areas that COVID has actually not affected in a negative way,” Crowe said.

The district was able to make faster-than-anticipated progress on the project in the spring because the lack of students at the school, and the corresponding lack of traffic around the site, made it more efficient for crews to do the site work.

The issuance of the city building permit means the work has now moved into the official “construction” stage of the project, Crowe said.

He said all the site work has been completed and the foundation work is well underway. Crews are also starting to get into installing piping and pouring the concrete slab.

A highlight, Crowe said, will be the beginning of work on the steel structure.

 “We’ll actually start to come out of the ground, which is always exciting because it actually starts to look like a building,” he said.

Crowe had some other good news for trustees; at his previous update in June, the project budget had been flagged as “yellow” – meaning the district was taking corrective action with the contractor to find cost savings.

The project had encountered some potential extra costs because of unexpected soil conditions on the site, including the presence of some extremely large boulders that affected the excavation process.

But Crowe said the district team worked with the contractor and was able to get the budget back on track. The project is still expected to come in within its budget of just shy of $35 million.

The current schedule calls for the exterior work to be finished by the end of August 2021, with interior finishes by the second week of December 2021, with the new building then ready for occupancy.

Demolition of the old building is planned for mid-April 2022 and landscaping completion by the end of August 2022.

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