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New Westminster Secondary School Replacement

New Westminster Secondary School design-build, is one of British Columbia’s largest school replacement projects. The 22,000 m2, three-storey facility includes formal education components (general classrooms, inclusive education classrooms, and science labs), career technical education spaces, a performing arts component, and physical education facilities.

The scope of work of this contract also included a separate maintenance and IT building that serves the entire school district. Working collaboratively, the team designed a state-of-the-art school that will optimize the use of flexible learning spaces to maximize collaboration and active learning, including cutting-edge technology and multi-purpose spaces. It meets today’s standards for modern learning (focusing on transparency and diversity of learning opportunities), safety and accessibility. The project is aiming for LEED® Gold Certification.

The project had the unique challenge of designing around existing burial grounds on the site, known to be the final resting place for Chinese pioneers, Sikhs, and Indigenous people. Both the Government of British Columbia and the New Westminster School District made a commitment to protect and preserve the historical significance of the site and to ensure that no construction would occur on any known burial areas. The site design ensures the existing burial site is located in the playfield to the west of the gymnasium, and the building design ensures that the massing is respectfully held back from the burial area, with landscaping and an open space between the building and the playfield.

The project was also designed in accordance with BC’s Wood First Act. The school makes use of structural timber in the form of glulam beams to the exterior and extensive use of timber as interior finishes within. A wood slat ceiling runs from the foyer through the grand commons, and right through the main promenade corridor that runs through the ground floor from east to west. The wooden slat ceiling is modular in construction, which allows the owner ease of access to the main expanse of mechanical and electrical services.

The site of the new school is adjacent to the existing operational facility, and the project team implemented a specific construction and logistics plan, taking into account this situation. The day-to-day schedule was adapted to ensure construction did not interfere with the student experience at the existing school. The new school opened in January 2020.

Project Stats

  • Client: School District No. 40
  • Location: New Westminster, BC
  • Size: 22,000 sq.m.
  • Project Type: New Build
  • Project Delivery: Design-Build