Despite some reservations about artistic merit, Port Moody council approved plans for a new Moody Elementary school in a unanimous vote Tuesday.
Expected to accommodate about 385 students from kindergarten to Grade 5, the L-shaped school is set to be sandwiched between Moody Middle and St. Johns Street. It’s the right building in the right place for the right reason – it just looks a little lacklustre, according to Coun. Steve Milani.
Milani encouraged more outside-the-box thinking, particularly given the design is: “literally a box,” he said. It’s an especially poor location for a lacklustre design, Milani said, explaining that the school will be stared at daily by drivers stuck in traffic.
Future developments, particularly those along major thoroughfares, should have: “a bit more of an artistic component,” Milani concluded.
It’s a “phenomenal project,” lauded Coun. Zoe Royer. However, it could use a mural in order to live up to Port Moody’s City of the Arts moniker, she added.
That mural might present an opportunity for the city and school district and the Indigenous community to work together, according to Coun. Diana Dilworth.
“I believe that School District #43 and the city both have strong, strong, strong priorities about advancing reconciliation,” she said.
Mayor Rob Vagramov was the only defender of the project’s artistic merit, characterizing its bright colours and big windows as a pleasant contrast to his high school, which he described as “a jail.”
But while the mayor said he would support a motion to spend city money on artwork in the area, he wouldn’t advocate having the school district spend money toward “making it look pretty.”
“I would be surprised if they’d be throwing money at artwork when they barely have enough funding from the provincial government to run public education,” he said.
The new school is also slated to come with a new gravel field, a basketball court and two playgrounds.
The elementary school would share parking with Moody Middle. However, the schools would have separate drop-off locations.