Help us ensure Eric Hamber Secondary is built to accommodate current & future programs

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Stephanie Yada
Stephanie Yada signed this petition

The Eric Hamber Alumni Organization and the Eric Hamber PAC, as well as past, present, and future students, staff and parents need your help. Eric Hamber has been slated to be rebuilt as the current school is seismically unsafe. While safety of students and staff is a very serious concern, it is also necessary for the province to build a new school that fully meets the needs of students and the community, today and in the future.

Unfortunately, with current Area Standards (the set of rules for new builds mandated by the province), schools are being built as quickly as possible, with a focus on making the building smaller. This means that classroom spaces are smaller, storage space is nearly non-existent, gymnasiums and performing arts spaces are drastically reduced, and the things that the province has determined to be unnecessary, like an auditorium, are being eliminated. It is short-sighted thinking to save money, rather than long-term planning for decades of future students.

Can you imagine a secondary school without adequate gym space, library space, playing fields, an auditorium and stage, art rooms, or music spaces? With a price tag of over $79 million dollars - the largest seismic project in Vancouver’s history. We need to make sure we get this right. Future students deserve all of the same opportunities as students at other secondary schools in the city. Not to mention the same fantastic opportunities that thousands of students have been proud to be part of at  Eric Hamber for over 50 years.

We are asking both the Minister of Education and the Vancouver School Board for the following: 

1. Meaningful consultation and collaboration with Eric Hamber Alumni, PAC, staff, students, and the community to have a say in what is most important to the Eric Hamber community in this new build. Many beloved programs will be negatively impacted or lost under the Area Standards guidelines (sports programs, the fashion program, and the theatre program, for example). While we believe the province should be prioritizing these programs by providing space in new builds, we would also like to explore other available funding sources and opportunities for spaces that the province may still choose not to fund. 

2. We are asking the Vancouver School Board and trustees to advocate, on behalf of the Eric Hamber community, directly to the provincial government. The VSB needs to show leadership and be a voice for us in this matter. We want to work together with them to see that this build is done correctly. A good education is about more than just classrooms and textbooks. The importance of sports, music, and fine arts is well-documented. It is deeply unfair and unacceptable to build a school that cannot offer these things in an adequate way.  A replacement school should not be a downgrade. If we lose the programs that make Eric Hamber the special school it is, we are effectively getting a safer school, but are doing so at the expense of our children's education.  

Eric Hamber has notable and award-winning team sports and athletics, performing arts, including music, theatre and dance, and fashion design programs. The existing school has facilities to support these outstanding programs, but the new school does not. An auditorium, gym space, play fields, an outdoor track, and fashion program space will be of significant benefit to future students and the community-at-large. Without these facilities, it will mean a cut to programs and services offered at Eric Hamber.

We the undersigned, parents, students, taxpayers, alumni, and supporters of Eric Hamber Secondary School, petition the Provincial Government, The Honourable Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, The Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and MLA for Vancouver-Fairview, and the Vancouver School Board and trustees to include an auditorium, increased gymnasium and outdoor space, increased library space, and adequate fashion design program and arts spaces in the design and construction of the new Eric Hamber School.

Please make the signing of this petition step one. After you have signed, please visit either the Eric Hamber PAC website http://hamberpac.ca/ or the Alumni Facebook page (@EricHamberReunion) for information regarding writing a personal letter so there is even more impact.