More North Vancouver students soon will have a safer school

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Students attending a unique North Vancouver school soon will have a safer learning environment with provincial government funding of $23.7 million for seismic upgrades at Mountainside Secondary school.

“We’re taking quick action to let students at this school know they will be safe in the event of an earthquake,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Mountainside offers a hub of extremely important programs that support flexibility in their education, and this investment supports the community so students can learn and play at their school for years to come.”

Mountainside is included in the ministry’s Seismic Mitigation Program as it has been assessed as having high structural seismic risk. Construction on the school is scheduled to begin in early 2020 and to be completed in fall 2021. Students will be able to remain in the school while the upgrades are underway.

“We are elated that Mountainside Secondary has received approval for a seismic upgrade. Once this project is complete, all high-risk schools in the North Vancouver School District will be seismically safe,” said Christie Sacré, chair, North Vancouver Board of Education. “The North Vancouver Board of Education has always worked hard with the Ministry of Education to ensure that our schools are not only seismically safe, but also are structurally updated to support 21st-century learning. This is the 15th project since 2007 to be seismically upgraded or rebuilt.”

Mountainside was built in 1959 as Balmoral Junior Secondary school and was converted in 2014 to house a variety of alternative education programs for students throughout the district. Mountainside’s specific programs focus on inclusion and student mental health. This includes the new two-year Social Emotional Learning and Positive Mental Health Hub project that the Province recently supported with funding of $225,000.

Mountainside includes space for community partners to support the school’s programs, such as Vancouver Coastal Health, Hollyburn Family Services and North Shore Neighbourhood House. Students benefit from having these partners at the school to support student well-being and provide flexibility to help them be successful in their learning.

“It will be a huge relief for our families to know that Mountainside will no longer be vulnerable to an earthquake,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. “The safety of our students is of utmost importance, and I’m so grateful to be part of a government that takes this responsibility seriously.”

Government is working to clear the backlog of seismic projects in B.C. by working with school districts and local governments to reduce the time it takes to plan and upgrade or replace a school.

Since September 2017, the Province has approved a total of $847 million in capital projects, including nearly $490 million for seismic upgrades or replacements. This includes the $62.3-million replacement of North Vancouver’s Handsworth Secondary school, which is scheduled to be ready for students in September 2021.

Quick Facts:

  • As of October 2018, 179 of the 347 schools in B.C.’s Seismic Mitigation Program have been upgraded or replaced, while 31 schools are either under construction or proceeding to construction.
  • Mountainside is the final school in the North Vancouver School District that requires seismic upgrades. Once complete, every school in the district will meet provincial seismic standards.

Learn More:

For more information about the Province’s Seismic Mitigation Program, visit:

For more information about the Social Emotional Learning and Positive Mental Health Hub project at Mountainside Secondary, visit: