VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Eric Hamber Secondary School in Vancouver was the site of a rally on Tuesday as parents, students, and alumni upset with the planned replacement for the school took their message to the streets.
Andrea Nicholson, a coordinator for the Eric Hamber Alumni Association, was at the protest. She says that for starters, the school is just too small.
“Music and room for instruments… has drastically been changed,” she says. “As well, the fashion design program is much, much smaller.”
The Parent Advisory Committee says the replacement school will be 32 per cent smaller than the current one.
The plans don’t include a replacement auditorium and gymnasium space will also be reduced.
“Programs at Hamber such as the fine arts program and the international fashion design program have long been held in high regard in the community,” says Nicholson.
The Ministry of Education says the new school will be approximately 15,000 square metres in size, with room for 1,700 students from grades 8 to 12.
But Nicholson says the plans don’t account for expected growth in population along Oak and Cambie.
“With the new Oakridge Mall, the Heather Lands and the development at the old transit site on Oak and 41st, it should at least accommodate the current population of the school, ” she says.
“The size won’t accommodate the current study body. They are going to be capping population for the school. It seems absolutely ridiculous because the number of students is going to grow.”
Eric Hamber was originally built in 1962.
The replacement school will be located on the northwest corner of the existing site and will also include a childcare facility.
Once students are moved into the new school, which was expected to happen in the fall of 2022, the old school is slated to act as a ‘swing’ school, for students displaced by other seismic projects. It will eventually be torn down.