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  • What is happening at the GNS Pemberton Woods Campus?
    In May of 2023, GNS began a collaborative design process to modernise its infrastructure and resources at the Pemberton Woods Campus. This process has taken place over many months and meetings, and we are excited to share the most recent plans with the community. An inclusive design journey from the start offering students, faculty, staff, parents, neighbours and the broader community the opportunity to actively contribute, shaping the future of the school. Together, we have created an inclusive and vibrant environment that reflects the aspirations of our community, fostering meaningful connections and enhancing the City as a whole.
  • Why is GNS renewing the Pemberton Woods Campus?
    The focus of the PW Renewal is to establish the long-term needs and plans of GNS, as outlined in the Gonzales Neighbourhood Community Plan (adopted by Victoria City Council on March 14, 2002). The plan aims to modernize the infrastructure and resources at the school, addressing long-term facilities upgrades - including seismic updates - and to ensure students have access to inclusive learning spaces and the latest resources and technologies. Overall, the intent is to create a healthy, vibrant, well-loved and enduring campus that drives community connection and enriches life in our city. We are finalizing the plans that will achieve these goals.
  • What is the community engagement process?
    Over the past year, the GNS PW Campus Renewal community engagement process has offered students, faculty, staff, parents, neighbours and the broader community an opportunity to actively contribute to helping shape the future of the school. Through collaborative meetings and dialogue, the PW Renewal Team gathered input, feedback and ideas to guide the modernization of the school’s infrastructure and resources. This process encouraged community involvement, fostered connections and explored the role of contemporary schools in the neighbourhood setting.
  • Who is running the community engagement meeting series?
    The PW Renewal process is being facilitated by a collaborative team consisting of GNS staff, architects, landscape architects and urban designers, traffic consultants, civil engineers and a third-party facilitator. This team ensures that the meetings are organised, inclusive and provide a platform for open dialogue and meaningful interaction for the collective community.
  • What is the timeframe for the community engagement process?
    The timeframe for the PW Renewal community engagement process is intended to be an ongoing and inclusive. GNS understands that meaningful engagement takes time and requires open communication channels. From June through to November 2023, a number of workshops and many feedback sessions were undertaken with the collective community to develop a design for the PW Renewal. GNS remains committed to fostering continuous dialogue, maintaining transparency and providing regular updates as we progress, ensuring that the collective community is informed and involved at every stage.
  • How can I get involved in the PW Renewal community engagement process?
    We welcome your active involvement in the PW Renewal process! Join us at the community meetings to share your valuable insights, ideas and concerns. Together, we can shape the future of the campus and foster a vibrant and inclusive learning environment that benefits the entire community. Your voice matters, and we look forward to working collaboratively with you.
  • What if I can’t attend the Pemberton Woods Campus Renewal community engagement events? Will I still be able to contribute?
    Absolutely! We understand that not everyone can attend every PW Renewal community engagement opportunity. We value the input of all community members and are providing multiple avenues for contribution. You can participate through online surveys, submit written feedback, or reach out to our designated point of contact, Shannon Drew at engage@pwrenewal.ca to share your thoughts and ideas. We want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the renewal process, regardless of their ability to attend the meetings in person.
  • What are the plans to mitigate traffic and parking issues?
    We understand that pick up, drop off and parking are significant concerns for the neighbourhood, and we are committed to actively involving neighbours in our design process to address these issues effectively. By including valuable input, our design team will continue to work collaboratively with the community to develop solutions that will improve long term traffic flow, implement effective traffic calming measures, and enhance parking infrastructure. To ensure the plans meet both the needs of the school and the community, we have taken several key steps: 1. Traffic Consultant: GNS engaged a traffic consultant to conduct a comprehensive assessment including existing conditions, traffic impact and a site plan review. The assessment was completed in the fall of 2023 and was crucial to understanding the current and projected traffic volumes and patterns, especially considering the changes in the local traffic landscape since the 2019-2020 data collection. 2. Enhanced Infrastructure: Based on the feedback and assessments, we have proposed several infrastructure improvements, including: - an underground parkade to minimize the visual impact and footprint of parking - A re-designed pick-up and drop-off loop to streamline traffic flow and reduce congestion on surrounding streets - Elimination of access to PW off Maddison and Laurentian - Integration of traffic calming measures to ensure safe and efficient movement within the campus and the neighbourhood.
  • What does the school need that it doesn’t already have? Why can’t you just renovate the buildings?
    Some of the buildings at the Pemberton Woods campus are at an age where they are in need of upgrades or replacing, whether it be seismic considerations, or outdated or inefficient operating systems. In many cases it’s not possible to upgrade the existing accommodation to the standard expected from a modern school. These factors are in addition to the evolving nature of our science, technology, arts and athletics programs.
  • Are you planning on growing? What are your student population aspirations?
    The student population at the Pemberton Woods Campus has been relatively consistent since the 1990s with fluctuating enrollment in some grades over this period, as is the case with all schools. Historically it has been as high as 555 students. As noted in the functional program summary, we have identified our long-term maximum at 650 students. This is not something that will happen overnight and we recognize that our size needs to keep in mind our character as a school, as well as the character of the neighbourhood. Realistically, this would be slow annual growth over a long period of time. It should be clear that GNS will never be a large school, nor do we want to become one. What is more important to us is to provide quality education to students from the local community while maintaining our commitment to small class sizes and personalised attention. We aspire to strike a balance between any update to preserving the close-knit and supportive community that defines the City, neighbourhood and school.
  • Which buildings will the school be replacing?
    As part of the Pemberton Woods Campus Renewal, the school undertook a comprehensive evaluation of all buildings on Campus. While Denford Hall is planned to be preserved, the renewal process aims to update and modernise the entire campus over the coming years. This assessment allows for a holistic approach to ensure that all buildings meet the evolving needs of the school and community, creating an improved and cohesive campus environment.
  • GNS owns homes adjacent to the Pemberton Woods campus. Does GNS plan to incorporate these properties into the renewal plans of the campus?
    GNS is considering the inclusion of adjacent properties in the renewal plans for the Pemberton Woods Campus. This topic emerged during our community engagement meetings and discussions about long-term needs and community integration. We aim to make informed decisions that align with both the school's future requirements and the broader needs of the Gonzales neighbourhood. Your insights on this matter contribute to shaping how we can best utilise these properties to incorporate more meaningful solutions to effectively address traffic and parking challenges, while maintaining the character of the Campus and the neighbourhood.
  • How long will the entire process take, from design to construction of the renewal project?
    The journey from design to construction of the renewal project is a comprehensive and thorough process, often spanning several years. The design phase involves active engagement with the community, ensuring that the design aligns with the evolving needs of the school and the changing dynamics of the neighbourhood. This collaborative design process is followed by updates and approvals with the City of Victoria, which can also take a considerable amount of time. Only after these stages are completed will the construction phase begin. The duration of this process is a reflection of our commitment to crafting a renewal plan that truly serves the community's aspirations and contributes to the long-term sustainability of the campus and its surroundings.
  • When do you plan to start construction?
    It is too early in the process to determine a construction timeline. We are focusing on working with the faculty, staff, neighbours and the broader community to create a high level urban design. Once we have a design for the school renewal, we will work on our application with the City of Victoria, which is likely to be a multi-year process. Regular updates to the community will be provided throughout this process.
  • How long will it take to complete all the buildings within the renewal plan?
    Completing all the buildings within the renewal plan is a thorough and careful endeavour. Our current focus is on collaboratively designing a blueprint that aligns with the school's long-term needs and the neighbourhood's aspirations. This thoughtful design phase, along with the necessary City processes, will be followed by construction, which will unfold in phases over the course of multiple decades. As we move through each phase, we remain committed to actively involving the community and providing transparent updates about the evolving timeline and progress.
  • How will you address potential impacts on both immediate neighbours and students during the construction process, especially considering that each phase of work may vary in size?
    Ensuring a harmonious construction process for both our immediate neighbours and students is a paramount consideration. We are fully aware that each phase of work within our renewal plan may differ in scale. However, regardless of the size of the phase, our commitment remains steadfast to minimising any impact on both the school and the broader community. We will diligently devise mitigation strategies tailored to the unique characteristics of each phase, taking into account factors such as construction size, duration, and potential disruptions. By prioritising effective mitigation, we aim to create an environment that upholds the well-being of both the school and our valued neighbours.
  • What are the long-term space needs of the school?
    The long-term space needs of the school were determined based on various factors including educational requirements, programs, and facilities that contribute to a comprehensive learning experience. Our goal is to align with the standards set by organisations such as CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools) and achieve an average space of approximately 20 m² per student over time. This includes various internal spaces that support learning, collaboration, and recreation, with a focus on creating a well-rounded and vibrant educational environment.
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