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Where’s Our New School?
Dec. 13, 2022
Zoe Serdar, Grade 11

On October 12th, 2018, the BC Ministry of Education announced that Burnaby North Secondary would finally be getting a brand-new building. In the news, the well-anticipated project was rumored to be ready by September 2021. But, four years since the announcement, the school still hasn’t been completed. For everyone asking, “what’s taking so long” and “will I still be here by the time the school is finished,” you’ll find the answers below.

According to Burnaby North’s Principal, Mr. Rawnsley, construction delays are due to a lack of needed supplies. The COVID-19 pandemic, protests, and strikes in the construction industry have posed challenges in getting necessities such as concrete. In spite of these obstacles, Mr. Rawnsley states that “construction is moving along well.” A new all-weather field along Curtis Street was just completed, and the new driveway and parking lots are being paved; things appear to be coming together. In the coming months, the south and west portions of the building will then be finished. Finally, the north and east sides are scheduled to be completed by June. The entire project will be finished the same month and classes in the new building will start in September—the start of the new school year.

The old Burnaby North—after students and staff have moved into the new building—will be demolished over a period of six months. “The land under the south building will be turned into parkland with areas for walking and gathering,” says Mr. Rawnsley, “while the area under the North building will become a parking lot and field.”

While all this may seem like a long way off, Mr. Rawnsley believes that the new building will certainly be worth the wait. “It is going to be fantastic!” He adds, “obviously, it will be nice to be in fresh, new spaces, but the changes go beyond that. The new school is designed in a completely different manner.” He describes classrooms organized in learning pods—pockets of six classrooms with their own gathering areas and unique layouts. The school will also have the fastest modern network. Mr. Rawnsley comments, “[it] will provide the foundation for fully integrated and wireless learning opportunities for students.” The building will include a theatre, conference center, exploration lab, a weight room, several gyms and a dance/fitness studio. There will also be a variety of different student spaces, such as gathering areas and quiet breakout rooms for studying. “The school will be a true community learning hub,” Mr. Rawnsley concludes. Until the school is ready, Burnaby North’s students can enjoy the excitement of what’s to come—and watch as the future is built, one panel at a time.