Eric Hamber Seismic Replacement - Your action needed!! **Updated 01/19/19**

Hamber PAC has written a letter (click here) to the Minister of Education expressing concerns regarding the deficiencies of the new school design. We encourage everyone to do the same. Let’s make some noise so that our concerns are heard. Please write to:

Also, a petition has been started on, we highly recommend everyone to sign there as well.

If you missed the Public Info Session on Jan 11th, the display boards can be viewed HERE. The VSB is asking for your feedback by completing their survey before Jan 25. To ensure that your completed comment sections are viewed by the Ministry of Education, we recommend that you also send a copy to .

Your support is needed at the VSB Facilities Planning Committee on Jan 23rd at 5:00pm. Go to VSB Education Centre Room 180, 1580 West Broadway, in Hamber colours or Hamber spirit wear to show that you want VSB to GET SEISMIC RIGHT! This meeting is open to public.

And a special thanks to Patti Bacchus for her well written article in the Georgia Straight about the Hamber seismic project.

Patti Bacchus- VSB’s Hamber Secondary rebuild plan alarms parents and alum | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly_Page_1.jpg
Patti Bacchus- VSB’s Hamber Secondary rebuild plan alarms parents and alum | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly_Page_2.jpg
Patti Bacchus- VSB’s Hamber Secondary rebuild plan alarms parents and alum | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly_Page_3.jpg
Patti Bacchus- VSB’s Hamber Secondary rebuild plan alarms parents and alum | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly_Page_4.jpg
Patti Bacchus- VSB’s Hamber Secondary rebuild plan alarms parents and alum | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly_Page_5.jpg


Here’s what we know:

  • The Ministry of Education is providing $79.3 million to fully replace our school. It will be the largest seismic project in Vancouver’s history.

  • The new seismically safe Eric Hamber will be built next to the existing school on the northwest corner of the site. Students will remain in the existing school during construction. 

  • The new school will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold standards. LEED gold schools are healthy, high-performance learning environments that include sustainable low-toxic materials, natural light, abundant fresh air, energy conservation, and reduced demand on local landfills.

  • Construction was slated to begin in summer 2020, with completion in fall 2022, but that date has been moved up as estimated construction costs continue to grow by 1% every month. Construction will now begin in January 2020, with a targeted completion date in early 2022.

  • From 2022-2032, the existing Eric Hamber will be used as swing space to accommodate future schools undergoing seismic upgrades. After that time, the old structure will be torn down.

  • Eric Hamber Secondary’s Seismic Replacement School VSB School Advisory Group consists of Eric Hamber’s Administration, as well as teacher, support staff, VBE, PAC, and student representatives. All Eric Hamber Department Heads have provided input to the Vancouver Project Office (VPO) on the functional requirements and needs of the each of their respective departments.

  • The new school will be built to accommodate 1,700 students, the same capacity of the existing school. The actual physical space will be 26% less than the existing school.

  • The Neighbourhood Learning Centre allocation is 0%, but there will be a child care facility in the new school.

  • The interior design will reflect recent VSB builds like Kitsilano and University Hill Secondary. Floorplans will support 21stcentury learning with flexible spaces, open concepts with multi-purpose spaces, and movable furniture. There will be” huddle spaces” in the halls with half-sized lockers, built-in seating, microwaves and sinks. 

  • The current design for the new Eric Hamber does not include an auditorium. The drama studio and fashion program space will both be substantially reduced. The new school may not include a servery. There will be a dance studio and a band room.

  • Storage spaces will be substantially reduced in the new school. There will be very limited storage for musical instruments and sports equipment for example. 

  • The allocated gym space in the new school will be reduced by 19% from what it is currently. This reduction does not allow for the current number of PE classes to be scheduled in proper gym facilities. 

  • In addition, there will not be a track or a football field on site for at least 10 years while the old school is being used. 

  • The field in the northwest corner at 33rd and Willow will be turned into a parking lot. 

  • Jules Verne Secondary will continue to use Oak Meadows as their outdoor space. 

  • Because the useable onsite outdoor space will be very limited and over-used, other neighbourhood fields and sports facilities may be utilized.

  • The cost to build an auditorium and increased gym space is 6 million dollars. 


PAN Open Meeting on Area Standards - Jan 30th

PAN (Parent Advocacy Network Vancouver) is hosting an open meeting on Area Standards on Jan 30th from 6:30-9:00pm at The Tipper Restaurant and Review Room, 2066 Kingsway Street.


Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn more about seismic replacements in Vancouver schools and how the Area Standards policy is affecting new builds.


From the Eric Hamber Alumni Association

To give a very brief overview and supply some important information…

The VSB and province have decided to use the existing, Eric Hamber Secondary building to run as a seismic swing space to house students from multiple schools going through seismic upgrades and rebuilds in the future.  This will save funds as currently they are placing students in portables for extended periods of time and paying to bus the students. Some are saying that this is all about bottom line and good timing for the political party on that media release last year and that this project will receive much attention due to the geographical location of the school.  Either way, we believe the primary obstacle to achieving a superior replacement school is  the "Area Standards" document that is now the basis for all school construction in the province.  Given that everyone (including the Project Office, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Administration) is bound by this illogical document, the debate and notification of the document shortcomings must occur at the MLA and Minister of Education levels and the VSB trustees must advocate accordingly.  

The Area Standards assumes that a student population will never increase over 1100 students.  At 1100 there are no further additions to gym space, no matter how many more students there are. If the gym space actually increased as it should in that document, then Hamber would get more than 600 m2 for that purpose - enough for at least another small gym! The shortcomings of the document are leading to millions of dollars being invested in school designs that fall short of their communities'  reasonable expectations.

This is an email that was sent to the Minister of Education this morning by Ross Davidson, Eric Hamber grad, class of 1972.  He has given me permission to release as needed and I believe his email would be a positive share for current students, parents and staff. 


To whom it may concern;

Since graduating from Eric Hamber Secondary School in 1972, I have worked in a nearby school district as a teacher and school / district administrator. I was involved in opening new schools, closing old ones and renovating a few worth saving. Clearly I know firsthand the impact rebuilding a school has on a community. I am a Hamber alumni whom, some would say, bleeds blue and maroon ( Hamber school colours ). I and my classmates are so connected to our alma mater that my old 1972 basketball team gathers each year for a golf tournament and storytelling session which includes players, coach and managers. In addition, as well as regular official school reunions, many alumni get together from time to time to reminisce and remember the good old days as a Griffin. Needless to say that Eric Hamber played a huge roll in our lives. In fact my life and career path was significantly shaped by that wonderful school and great staff. I forget most classes I took but will always remember the hours spent in the gyms and on the fields and the events and concerts in the auditorium. Invaluable times and cherished memories for sure ! 

When we first heard that the old building was being torn down, alumni were very sad but realistic in light of the seismic concerns. However, we just assumed the campus would be rebuilt with the same grandeur as the building that served so many for so long and stood as a beacon for public education at the high profile corner of Oak and 33rd.  We are distressed to hear that some facilities such as gym space, track and field space as well as auditorium space will be reduced or eliminated. Driving down Oak street and seeing that track, fields and bleachers is a constant reminder of how a great school facility should be. A high school should be a pivotal place in the community. In fact, some would argue schools are replacing the church and town square as the centre of a neighbourhood. On behalf of all Eric Hamber Alumni, I urge you to rebuild Eric Hamber with all the facilities needed to educate the whole student and accommodate the growing community. Gym, music and fine arts space is integral to developing the whole student both from a curricular and extracurricular point of view. A 1995 movie I remember that helped guide my decisions as a school administrator focuses on this concept and I ask you to watch Mr. Holland's Opus. A quote from the movie always resonated with me and it goes something like this, " can teach the kids to read and write but without the sports and arts programs what will they read and write about ?"

Please consider the impact of the new school design for the future of our community, children, grandchildren and for generations to come.

Sincerely yours,

Ross Davidson 

( Eric Hamber 1972 Alumni )

 Together in support.  On behalf of the alumni,

Andrea Nicholson

Eric Hamber Alumni Coordinator

604 454 8959

"Look to the past, Look to the present, Look to the future"


Eric Hamber Seismic Replacement - Urgent Notice!

Dear Hamber Parents and Guardians,

If you haven’t done so already, please update your calendars to include the Public Information Session to learn more about the seismic replacement of Eric Hamber Secondary. The session will be held on Friday, January 11th from 4:00-7:00 in the gymnasium. 

It is imperative that there is a good turnout of parents, families, alumni, and community members to this Public Info. Session on January 11th. There are glaring deficiencies in the plan for the replacement school - there is no auditorium and reduced gym and outdoor space. The Info. Session is an opportunity for people to ask questions and voice their concerns.  At this point, our impression is that there is still a chance to make changes…if we voice our concerns, loud and clear!

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We also strongly encourage you to write to:

Let them know that it is not acceptable to build a new, state-of-the-art school for 21st century learning, without an auditorium and limited gym space. The cost to include these is $6 million dollars. A small investment for a school that will service many generations to come.

Eric Hamber Music Society - Hoodie Drive

Support the Eric Hamber Music Department by purchasing a hoodie. Order online at by this Sunday December 2nd for delivery before Christmas. Orders will also be taken during concert week, however delivery for those orders will be in January. There’s lots of colours and sizes to choose from, so check out the online store, and don’t miss out on your chance to get in on this early order!

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