It looks like General Gordon Elementary’s beloved “Little Yellow Schoolhouse” won’t face the wrecking ball after all.
And it appears to have the Supreme Court of Canada ruling on class size and composition to thank.
Kitsilano’s General Gordon has undergone a recent rebuild, and the VSB had originally recommended the century-old Arts and Crafts-style outbuilding be demolished to make more playground space and to widen a nearby laneway.
However, that proposal led to a public outcry from neighbours and heritage advocates, kicking off a year-long debate on the future of the building.
Now, after a meeting with the city’s Heritage Committee, VSB staff have produced a new report recommending the structure be saved.
In a memo to the VSB Planning and Facilities Committee, Director of Facilities Jim Meschino says in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on class sizes, it looks like General Gordon may need an extra classroom for the 2018/2019 school year.
It says the city has agreed to scrap the lane-widening requirement, a move that, along with keeping the building, will save about $200,000.
Upgrading the building for use, including adding a water line, removing hazardous materials, adding a ramp, and connecting it to the school’s fire alarm will cost about $60,000.
In an email to CKNW a VSB spokesperson said district staff are recommending the outbuilding be retained.
“The recommendation will be considered at a VSB committee meeting on May 17, though a final decision is not expected before the board meeting on May 29.”
The schoolhouse was built in 1912, however despite its age, it is not on the City of Vancouver’s heritage registry.