As reported by CKNW, The Vancouver School Board has voted to give the community a month and a half to come up with a plan to save the little yellow schoolhouse.

The board voted unanimously to relocate a 1912 “Arts and Crafts” style schoolhouse on the school grounds rather than demolishing it to build a parking lot. Vancouver school board chair mike Lombardi says he’s happy they found a community-focused solution.

“It shows that the community is really engaged and really interested in our schools and our city, and what they said was that they’d like an opportunity to try to save an old building which means a lot to the community, and they rallied together, put together presentations, and are prepared to go out and try to develop a proposal and seek funding to keep that school house there.”

But there’s a catch: proponents will need to find someone to pay for the job. The school board estimates the price tag for the job to be between $100-200,000. The board also estimates a further cost of about $300,000 to tear the building down if needed later.

The board has set a deadline of April 20th for someone to step forward with a plan and the cash, or the building will again face the wrecking ball. The “Arts and Crafts” style schoolhouse sits on the property of General Gordon Elementary school, and until recently had been acting as a Montessori preschool. While it’s over a century old, it’s not on Vancouver’s heritage register.

Neighbourhood residents say the VSB had told them it would preserve the building as a part of seismic upgrading at the school several years ago.

But the VSB says staff changed the plan to tear it down and build a parking lot instead when there wasn’t enough money in the budget for preservation.

“Our hope is that the community will be able to use their energy and their momentum to get that going, we’re hopeful that there’ll be a proposal coming forward, which will allow us to retain that building.”

Its fate landed back on the agenda last week after a final blitz by Kits residents and heritage advocates who say the wrecking ball was due to land before the weekend.

After public outcry, the board changed tack and reopened debate on how the building might be saved.

Last modified: March 10, 2017

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