Plans for a new elementary school in Coal Harbour are moving forward, with the city selecting Henriquez Partners Architects as the architect.In November 2018, the City of Vancouver issued an RFP for the design of a 10-storey, mixed-use development — including a new elementary school — on a parking lot next to the Coal Harbour Community Centre. Fifteen firms applied and three were shortlisted, with Henriquez Partners Architects the winner. The architecture firm also designed the existing community centre, so they were a natural fit.
“We are honoured to announce that the City of Vancouver has named our studio as Design Architect for Coal Harbour Phase 2,” reads a post from Henriquez Partners Architects.
“The project will feature an elementary school, social housing and childcare. Phase 2 will also focus upon sustainable strategies, including Passive House, LEED and Zero Carbon Building Standard. The architecture will work in conjunction with the Coal Harbour Community Centre, previously completed by Henriquez Partners in 2000.”
The new building will include an elementary school for the Vancouver Board of Education and a child care facility and non-market housing for the City of Vancouver.
The development is welcome news for downtown parents, with most schools at capacity and spots difficult to come by. The most recent school opening was Crosstown Elementary in 2017, which added space for up to 500 students near Chinatown.
An elementary school on the site has been in the works for several decades, with references in city documents dating back to 1990, when the neighbourhood was first planned.
Funding for the new school is coming from a deal struck between BC Hydro and the Vancouver School Board. The hydro utility plans to build an underground substation on the site of the Lord Roberts Annex School in the West End, with the VSB receiving $75 million.
$65 million will be used to build a new school on the Lord Roberts site, as well as on the Coal Harbour site. The Coal Harbour site will open first in 2023, and students from Lord Roberts will be temporarily relocated to the new school. Construction will then begin on the new underground substation and school at Lord Roberts, with everything expected to be completed by 2028.
BC Hydro says the new substation in downtown Vancouver is desperately needed, as existing infrastructure is aging and in need of significant upgrades to meet demand.