College for the Retired still a place of learning, 100 years on
Once a school, always a school.
It’s appropriate that the Community Centred College for the Retired occupies the bottom floor of Alan Emmott Centre in south Burnaby. The independent, non-profit college offers daytime academic and recreational courses to seniors 55 and over. More than 300 students a year learn computer skills, languages, genealogy, music, crafts, bridge and chess in the computer lab and two classrooms.
Long ago the building housed students who were much younger.
The Alan Emmott Centre began life 100 years ago as Kingsway East School, a four-room elementary with one teacher and seven grades. In 1922 it was annexed to Burnaby South high school as a manual training centre, then three years later it was occupied by business students. Over the years it also housed music classes, theatre and the school’s cafeteria.
“It’s exciting to see the place is still here and still used as a place of learning,” says Rosemary Cooke, the president of the college.
In fact, many of its members were also students at the old Burnaby South secondary long ago.
As an excellent example of the Craftsman style of architecture from the early 20th century, the schoolhouse was spared the wrecking ball in 1991 when the old Burnaby South campus was torn down. After a $1.37 million restoration, it reopened in 2002 as a community centre, named for a former reeve and freeman of the city.
Next door is a cenotaph and three tennis courts that memorialize 51 former students at Burnaby South who lost their lives in the Second World War.