Retiring teachers spearhead Columneetza secondary sign project

The new sign at Columneetza secondary is a great place to get information on school events. - Photo submitted
The new sign at Columneetza secondary is a great place to get information on school events.
— image credit: Photo submitted

This fall, Columneetza Secondary School installed a new sign on Western Avenue to help keep students and parents better informed about events happening in and around the school.

The need for a school sign was first identified three years ago by school counsellor Murray Hoffman.

Most of the schools in the lower mainland have signs and they are just one more way to keep parents “in the loop” when it comes to what’s going on at Columneetza, Hoffman says.

“We use radio advertisements, newspaper ads and even the local cable station to communicate with our community, but still occasionally hear from parents that they were unaware of a dance or report cards or parent advisory council meeting,” Hoffman says.

“The sign now in front of the school is now just one more way to make sure everyone is kept informed because there is always something going on at Columneetza, and people need to know.”

Hoffman and art teacher, Mike Doherty, worked together to come up with a design for the sign that was both functional and creative.

Using the front entry of the school for inspiration, Doherty created a spectacular design to fit in with the school’s architecture. Hoffman then went to work to produce a working plan to accommodate Doherty’s design.

In order to have a sign installed for the school, Hoffman soon found out that there would be several issues to be addressed long before any concrete was to be poured. Permission from the administration and CSS PAC were first on the list.

Both recognized the need for the sign and came on board with the project immediately. In order to obtain the necessary permits for the sign, the city building inspection department required engineering for both the foundation and sign structure.

To help out with their project, Hoffman said he spent many hours working with Darryl Taylor of Celtic Engineering to ensure that everything would meet or exceed construction code requirements.

With the help of principal Gregg Gaylord and Ken Lucks, he said SD 27 workers excavated the location on Western last spring and the SD 27 carpenters soon had the foundation forms ready to pour.

As the forms were being constructed, the fabricators at Beamac were busy welding up the steel for the sign structure.

If you actually look at the sign, says Hoffman, “It is an amazing work of art. The fellows that helped us out at Beamac did a fantastic job on the steel fabrication.”

The centre piece is a beautiful stainless steel disc “donated” by Allied Blower with the Columneetza Cougar mascot cut out in silhouette by Gerry at Germik Industries.

Next he says it was up to Dale Schick and Schickworks Signs to do their magic creating two sign boxes for the sign, custom fitted for the project.

Finally, the SD 27 painters put on the final coat of exterior paint and the electricians connected the power for the sign, just in time to announce the starting dates for the new school year in September.

Hoffman says he and Doherty and the rest of the staff at Columneetza are proud of their new school sign and appreciate the help received from local businesses: Celtic Engineering – design consultation; United Concrete, 2.5 yards of concrete; Germik Industries, CNC plasma cutting; Allied Blower Ltd., stainless steel centrepiece; Tasco, high-grade fasteners; Schickworks Signs, two custom sign boxes.


It should also be noted, that the new sign is a legacy left by Doherty and Hoffman. Both of these teachers having worked for over 33 years for School District 27, retired in June of 2012.



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