Building schools with mass timber

March 16, 2021

Bayview Elementary School and Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary School will be Vancouver School Board’s first mass timber-built schools.

As part of a pilot project for future mass timber schools, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced a $1,482,000 investment for their construction and for seismic upgrades to make B.C. schools safer.

The original structure of Bayview Elementary School was demolished, making way for a new school to be built over the existing footprint with a greater resistance against earthquakes. The building consists of two-storeys of classrooms and teaching areas, as well as a gymnasium and Neighbourhood Learning Centre.

Sir Mathew Begbie Elementary School will be a completely new, 34,000-square-foot modern design with open learning spaces. With the use of mass timber as the primary building material, the total carbon benefit is approximately 1,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing hundreds of cars from the road for a year.

“These two schools serve as a great example of the potential that can be realized with mass timber construction. In addition to meeting the demands of the seismic mitigation program, the timber framing systems used in these buildings provide warm, inviting spaces for the school community as well as help the school board meet their sustainability objectives,” says Nick Bevilacqua, Principal at Fast + Epp.

To learn more, read the Natural Resources Canada press release.