Letter: New schools in Richmond are better than upgraded ones

Dear Editor:

Re: “Richmond schools dodge closure, ball now in MLA’s court,” Richmond-News.com.

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The fact that Richmond Board of Education has terminated the school closure process is good news for parents of children. It also highlights how the coordinated advocacy of these parents can produce results, particularly with a looming election. (It is unfortunate that the actions, or inaction, of the BC Liberals and our three MLA’s resulted in so much stress!)

The question I have is why we focus in on seismic upgrading of schools as opposed building new schools? After all, the schools in Richmond do not appear to be of any architectural or historical significance.

My understanding is that the government will fund seismic upgrades, but if during the course of the upgrade additional work (plumbing, electrical, etc.) is required, the board must provide the funding. Splitting the  cost does not make the project any more cost effective to the taxpayer who’s funds both.

Why would we not adopt the model used for Richmond High, build a new school on the existing site then demolish the old school and restore the fields. This would result in the elimination of numerous issues plaguing existing schools (asbestos in drywall, insulation, etc., lead in drinking water, rot, mould…) and reduce maintenance and operating cost with more efficient heating and electrical systems. New schools can also be built faster and sized to fit future needs.

When the life cycle cost, including maintenance and operating cost and health safety, is considered, new schools should be receiving more consideration than seismic upgrades.

Al Williams

Richmond

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