The recently completed historical restoration of Queen Mary Elementary School has received LEED® Gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The project was recognized for its sustainability, water and energy efficiency, green materials and resources, excellent indoor environmental quality, and innovative design.
"The North Vancouver School District has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. This philosophy is echoed in our district motto as the 'natural place to learn' and permeates all of the work we do. Inspiring future success for every student includes a need to do what we can to ensure our communities and environments are healthy places where students can learn and grow," said John Lewis, Superintendent, North Vancouver School District.
Queen Mary Elementary School was built in 1914 during a period of rapid economic growth before the First World War. It is an important historical building, demonstrating the era and the importance placed on education in the North Vancouver community at the time. However, considering its age, the building needed upgrades for both seismic and educational reasons. In 2010, the North Vancouver School District embarked on a project to upgrade Queen Mary Elementary's seismic structure and build an addition to the school to accommodate much needed learning areas, while maintaining the heritage status of the building and meeting high environmental building standards.
The heritage components of the project included restoring the facades, maintaining the double entrance, upgrading the wood roof and fan tower, and restoring heritage doors and windows. This work upholds the guidelines for conserving heritage places in Canada. The project received an Outstanding Achievement Award from Heritage BC. The contemporary educational requirements added to the school included reorganizing the central stair system, creating an atrium space, and doing an extension to the building for a new gymnasium, library and administrative space. The building was also seismically upgraded. The project was completed in 2014.
Another major focus of this project was to ensure sustainable design and construction. Some of the highlights of sustainability included reusing and recycling materials from demolition, installing efficient mechanical systems and exterior walls with high thermal performance, and integrating an educational program on the sustainable features of the building and site. As a result of the innovative green design and construction, the project has now achieved LEED Gold certification from the Canada Green Building Council.
"I would like to congratulate Queen Mary Elementary on earning LEED Gold certification," says Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council. "In addition to the many environmental benefits of green building, evidence shows that green schools can have positive impacts on the attentiveness, respiratory health, and overall well-being of students and staff. Queen Mary Elementary should be proud of the leadership they are showing to their school and wider community."
The North Vancouver School District's vision highlights a commitment to sustainable buildings that enhance the learning and teaching environment. This certification at Queen Mary Elementary is an example of that commitment.