A new school along the Vedder River could be completed by the fall of 2020, according to bid documents published by the school district this week.
The Chilliwack school district issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the much-anticipated school, which will run between a portion of the Vedder Rotary Trail and Petawawa Road, at the end of Tyson Road. While the funding for the school has not yet been approved, the district has purchased the property and anticipates funding in the next provincial budget.
The RFQ paints a vision of what the future kindergarten to Grade 8 school look like. Fitting on a narrow 12.4 acre strip, the school will follow the same Neighbourhood Learning Centre model as Chilliwack secondary school, with extra gym space, a daycare, pre-school, and room for partnership offices. It will have room for 80 kindergarten students, 325 Grades 1 through 5 students, and 500 Grades 6 through 8 students.
The date listed for “substantial completion” is Nov. 27, 2020, and the RFQ deadline date is Feb. 28. The school district purchased the site in April 2017, with most schools in the city surpassed capacity numbers and about 80 portables in use across the district.
There is no dollar figure attached to the RFQ, but it is a detailed document in other ways. It lists the many required team members for a design/build team, the Ministry of Education requirements for educational facilities, in-depth details about the site, project outcomes, and challenges.
It also details some of the more aesthetic beauty of the site, that is expected to be a key highlight of the school’s environment and pride.
“It’s beautiful location, next to the Vedder River and surrounded by nature, including green space, park space, outdoor trails and the Blue Heron Reserve, connect it with the outdoors and provide the ideal support for a community of learners,” the RFQ states. “In the spirit of active collaboration, students within this setting will work with teachers, peers and the community to learn to care for themselves, for others and for the environment.”
It will also be a school focused on outdoor learning.
“The new Chilliwack South Side Elementary/Middle School will seek to nurture healthy learning and teaching practices with a significant portion of the school year spent in meaningful outdoor settings,” it explains. “Educators will use the current curriculum to conceptualize and organize environmental learning. Experiences in natural settings will be created so that diversity, complexity, stewardship and sustainability become part of the students’ understanding of their home and world.”
The district’s RFQ process will identify up to three qualified respondent teams for a shortlist, who will be invited to respond to a request for proposals this April. A contract is expected to be awarded by Dec. 14 this year.
The successful proponent will be required to design and construct the school to a LEED Gold standard.
Interested parties can view and obtain the RFQ, including the registration form on BC Bid at www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca.