Wood in Education

King David High School | Photo: Martin Tessler

Wood in Education

The use of wood in schools across B.C. as a primary building material is increasing as communities, builders and government across the province recognize the value of building with sustainable, mass-timber technology.

Wood buildings are safe and resilient – they can meet or exceed the most demanding seismic and fire requirements and excel when tested against wind. Compared to concrete and steel, wood products such as glulam and cross-laminated timber are faster to assemble, cost-effective and better for the environment. As an example, the carbon stored in the wood used in Westview Elementary located in Powell River is equivalent to 128 cars off the road for a year.

An increasing body of evidence also recognizes that the design of our indoor environments is critical to human health and that building with wood can contribute to our sense of well-being. Studies have found that wood interiors reduce stress, and that it provides productive and high-quality learning spaces for students and teachers. The use of wood in Orchard Commons, one of UBC’s newest student residences, is embodied throughout its common areas – capitalizing on this calming effect to create a relaxed communal atmosphere for students.

Thompson River University realized the time-savings wood provides when faced with the design constraint of disrupting classes with construction. By leveraging off-site prefabrication, assembly of the roof was able to commence in advance and greatly reduced the time required on site – increasing the overall speed of construction.

Wood offers a calming atmosphere with environmental benefits for the schools’ occupants and an efficient choice from a time and cost-savings standpoint for the administration. With carbon neutral government commitments, the use of wood will continue to be showcased within upcoming schools in the province.


The use of wood in Westview Elementary honours our local culture and heritage, it also confirms our commitment to the use of sustainable resources.

Jay Yule, Superintendent, School District 47 Powell River