New Westminster Secondary replacement on track for 2019 opening

The future of New Westminster Secondary School rests in the hands of three design teams who have been tapped to come up with proposals for the aging school’s replacement.

Last week, the district announced three potential design-build partners have been shortlisted: Clark Builders and Stantec; Graham Design-Builders LP and KMBR Architects Planners Inc.; and Stuart Olson Construction Ltd. and Thinkspace Architecture Planning Interior Design.

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As part of the design-build process, the teams respond to the district’s request for qualifications in hopes of securing the contract to build the $106.5-million high school.

“These three companies will now come back once we have completed what’s called the statement of requirements, which basically says, ‘This is what we want in a school,’” said Pat Duncan, superintendent of the New Westminster School District.

The statement of requirements should be ready to go by the end of the month, Duncan added, and from there, the three teams will design what was could be the new high school.

But the public won’t have a say in which design they like best. Instead, residents will be able to provide feedback once the winning proposal has been selected. This round of community consultations is scheduled for September, Duncan said.

“What we’ve said is that they’ll have input into the design. So they’ll have an opportunity to see the design and say, ‘This we like. This we think is really great,’” he said.

Because the statement of requirements is still being crafted, Duncan couldn’t say exactly what the district wants in the new high school other than what is outlined in the 10 project aspirations included in the high school replacement discussion guide.

“We’ve looked at new schools and seen what others are doing,” Duncan said.

“Most importantly we want it to be a school that reflects what we know about how students learn, and we know students learn best in collaborative, open places that allow them to work together.”

Construction of the new high school is expected to get underway in September with the grand opening on track for September 2019, according to Duncan.

What’s in a school?

Here are the school district’s aspirations for the NWSS replacement project:

  1. Build a school that will support the evolving learning environment.
  2. Create a school with the flexibility to meet the needs of a rapidly changing society.
  3. Develop a sustainable designthat will minimize impacts on the environment.
  4. Develop a design with an emphasis on healthy students, teachers and staff.
  5. Respect, protect and preservethe historical and cultural significance of the site.
  6. Create spacesthat consider the role of rapidly changing technology in the ways students learn.
  7. Create opportunities for school community engagement.
  8. Create learning spaces where students and staff interact outside of the traditional classroom environment.
  9. Make teaching and learningspaces visible.
  10. Design a school that inspires and nourishes creativity.

– Source: NWSS replacement project discussion guide

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