North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Mountainside Secondary
August 6, 2019

Frequently asked questions

What is a seismic upgrade? 

A seismic upgrade project upgrades and reduces seismically venerable elements within an existing building structure. A similar seismic upgrade was completed at Windsor Secondary School in 2016. 

What are the key elements of the project scope?

The project scope is limited to reinforcing and/or removing unreinforced interior walls, and adding concrete buttresses (large columns) and steel components on the exterior of the existing building to improve the building's lateral strength. 

Will the building or school be expanded? 

No, this is a seismic safety project. The school's current programming and use will not change.

Will the school be partially demolished or closed during the project?

No, the school will remain in its current form and continue to operate throughout the project. The upgrade will be undertaken in a phased approach, which will allow work to be isolated to different sections within the building. Restrictive noise generating work will be undertaken during the summer months where possible or before and after school hours in accordance with municipal bylaws to limit disruption to students and neighbours as much as possible. 

Will the interior and exterior of the school be renovated?

The Ministry of Education's project funding is limited to seismic strengthening. Only key building elements affected by the upgrade will be renovated or replaced. 

Will there be a public information meeting to provide input?

The building is not undergoing any major change in form or function, so there is no municipal requirement for a public information meeting. 

When will the work occur and how will the school district manage traffic and noise? 

The school district has engaged Unitech Construction Management Ltd. Unitech is the construction management company that will be responsible for supervising and coordinating all tendering and construction activities for the project. Unitech will be conducting work in accordance with municipal construction and noise bylaws. Unitech has filed a construction management transportation plan that has been reviewed and approved by the District of North Vancouver.

Why is there a large amount of tree fencing going up on Mahon avenue?  

Tree protection is a municipal requirement. The fencing is to protect the surrounding trees from construction activities and equipment. Some landscaping modifications will be made on the east side of the building to enhance building accessibility for individuals with special needs. 

Is the parking lot or street being reconfigured as part of the project?

No roadwork is planned as part of this project.

Will the field be affected by this project?

The field will continue to be available for use during the school year. Vehicle access from the driveway and some of the parking areas adjacent to the south and west sides of the school may be closed during summer months and certain phases of the project to accommodate construction activities. The field will remain accessible from the north side of the property.

July 19, 2019

Letter to the community - Construction commencing

Please click HERE for a PDF version of this letter, which was delivered to homes within the area.

Residents in Proximity of Mountainside Secondary

3365 Mahon Avenue, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 3T7


Dear Resident(s):                                                       

Re: Seismic Upgrade Construction work at Mountainside Secondary

This letter is to inform local residents that the Mountainside Secondary Seismic Upgrade Project is starting in your local area.  Construction work on this project will run from July 17, 2019, to August 31, 2021, and will involve the following tasks:

    • Seismic remediation of Mountainside Secondary
    • Exterior buttresses, concrete work and site grading of Mountainside Secondary

During this project we will be working Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (complies with District of North Vancouver bylaws) and will be working inside and outside on the school property. The inside will be insulated to remove noise issues, but there will be work done outside with construction equipment, excavating machinery, trucking, concrete pumps, concrete trucks and deliveries that will cause some noise. We will try to keep the work that creates noise to a minimum during the early and late periods of our shifts to reduce the chances of disruption to the neighbourhood during these times.

We appreciate your understanding and look forward to completing the project with as little disruption to the neighbourhood as possible. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jeff Peters, Unitech Construction Management at 604-943-8845. Project status updates will be posted to the North Vancouver School District website: > Board of Education > Capital Plan & Projects > Capital Projects Updates - Revitalization & Renewal > Mountainside Secondary.

Yours truly,

Unitech Construction Management Ltd.

Sean Dickson, Superintendent

July 18, 2019

Design work complete and construction commencing

The architect, consulting team, and construction manager have completed the design for strengthening the school and construction activities are commencing over the summer of 2019.

March 8, 2019

Design process will now begin

The architect and consulting team have retained. Design planning will now being.

November 16, 2018

Tentative timeline:

  • Retain consulting team (December 2018)
  • Staff input (December 2018)
  • Retain Construction Manager (January 2019)
  • Design development phase (February 2019)
  • Construction document phase (June 2019)
  • Construction commencement (July 2019)
  • Project substantial completion (August 2021)
  • Project completion (September 2021)

November 16, 2018

Mountainside Secondary receives approval for a full seismic upgrade

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: