HUNDREDS more Surrey students will soon be attending seismically safe schools.
Minister of Education Rob Fleming announced $10.4 million in funding on Friday for seismic upgrades at Mary Jane Shannon Elementary and Bear Creek Elementary.
This investment means an additional 850 students in Surrey will be safer in the event of an earthquake, giving families the comfort of knowing their children are learning in a secure, healthy environment.
Mary Jane Shannon Elementary, in the Guildford Park area, will have its two-storey classroom block and its gymnasium seismically upgraded at a cost of $7.33 million. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2018. Portable classrooms will be used to temporarily accommodate students until the project’s completion, in time for school opening in September 2019.
Bear Creek Elementary’s seismic upgrades will cost $3.11 million and will include the school’s west block of classrooms and gymnasium. Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2018 with the classrooms completed by September 2018 and the gym a month later.
Currently, 21 of the 28 high-risk schools in the Surrey School District have been seismically upgraded. These two projects will see the district’s highest-priority seismic upgrades completed.
The government is addressing the backlog of seismic and capital projects throughout B.C. This includes encouraging collaboration between the Ministry of Education, school districts and local governments to meet ambitious timelines and reduce the time it takes to plan and upgrade a school. Government will also work to cut wait times for school construction by accelerating the funding approval process.
This announcement follows government’s recent $33-million commitment to build 955 new student spaces in Surrey with a new elementary school in Grandview Heights and an addition at Pacific Heights Elementary school.
The government said it is working to approve funding for 50 seismic upgrade projects in 18 months.
Fleming said: “Nothing is more important to me than the safety of students in B.C., and making this investment to ease the minds of hundreds of families in Surrey is an easy decision to make. We know we have more work to do in Surrey and throughout the province, and we are working with school districts and local governments to accelerate funding for seismic upgrades at every school that needs it.”
Laurie Larsen, Chair, Surrey School Board, said: “These projects represent a milestone because these are the only schools remaining in the district that are rated ‘most vulnerable’ for seismic risk. We look forward to seeing these building upgrades completed and thank students, staff and parents for their patience during construction.”
- The government has committed $522 million over three years for seismic upgrades across B.C.
- Mary Jane Shannon Elementary school was built in 1958 with additions in 1962, 1965, 1968 and 1973. It is a kindergarten-to-Grade 7 school with 374 students.
- Bear Creek Elementary school was built in 1964 with additions in 1972, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1991 and 2000. It is a kindergarten-to-Grade 7 school with 495 students.