A crew with Yellowridge Construction works on the new Yarrow elementary school on Thursday.

‘Building year’ for Yarrow elementary

Yarrow elementary, Chilliwack, school district 33, Yellowridge Construction Ltd.

When Yarrow elementary students arrive at school this morning, they’ll be guided down a paved path along the outer skirts of the school’s property until they reach the side door located on the northwest corner of the building; the school’s temporary entrance.

Along the route, they’ll no doubt catch a glimpse of the new school being built adjacent to the old one.

Yarrow elementary is in its final stages of construction. Even though it still has portions of the new school gaping open, the front entrance not yet built up, and the multi-purpose wing still not much more than a shell, it’s not hard to visualize what the school will soon be.

“It’s not going to be just another structure,” said Garnet Schneider, project manager with Yellowridge Construction Ltd., which was awarded the design-build projects for both Yarrow and Rosedale. “It’s going to have pizazz and design, and a great exterior street appeal. It won’t be boring.”

The new school, which is being constructed on a site 10 feet above the old school to protect it from the floodplain, will occupy 42,637 square feet, which includes 4,962 square feet of community learning space – a total increase of more than 7,000 square feet from the old school’s footage.

It will be divided into three sections: classrooms, administration, and multipurpose.

The southwest wing will feature two storeys of classrooms, 16 complete, one incomplete leaving room for expansion. The classrooms on the south side will each have doors exiting to an outdoor teaching area. The north side classrooms will have doors exiting into the large open courtyard at the centre of the school.

The northwest wing will feature a multipurpose space with commercial-sized garage doors opening up into the courtyard. There will also be partitioning doors on the inside, separating the multipurpose room from the drama facility. The wing will also include a 6,383 square foot gymnasium, with change rooms accessible from both the inside and outside.

“The change rooms will be accessible from the outside so the community can use them, but access into the school [from the change rooms] will be locked,” said Schneider.

The centre wing is where the front entrance will be located, as well as administrative, support staff and community offices.

The building is being constructed using concrete, steel, glue-laminated timber beams, and wood framing. Wood accents will also be implemented throughout the school aesthetically.

“The school district expressed interest in using a lot of wood in the design, and that’s what we’ve done,” said Schneider.

It will also feature geothermal heating.

Right now, however, the work continues.

While students are in their classes, approximately 50 to 60 workers will be on the job regularly from Monday to Friday, some Saturdays, moving lumber, framing classrooms, erecting walls, finishing the roof, painting walls.

A blue fence is in place to separate the students from the men in hard hats.

“We want to keep the kids out of the construction area and the workers out of the kids’ area,” said Schneider.

Students are expected to move in to the new school some time in the new year.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

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