MORE than 7,000 students in Surrey will move from portables into classrooms over the next three years, thanks to joint efforts by the B.C. government and the Surrey School District to accelerate school construction.
“Surrey families have been watching their community grow for years, but a lack of investment led to overcrowding in schools, forcing students into portables for far too long,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, on Wednesday. “Students in Surrey deserve a better learning environment and our government is working with the Surrey School District to get kids out of portables and into classrooms as quickly as possible.”
Despite a rapidly growing population, only one new school has opened in Surrey since 2014, resulting in more than 7,000 students spending their days in portables. In the last year, to make up for that lack of investment in Surrey students, the government has taken action by approving $166.7 million of funding for the following projects:
* New 655-seat Edgewood Drive elementary school: $33.3 million
* New 605-seat Douglas-area elementary school: $33.1 million
* 300-seat addition to Pacific Heights Elementary school: $10.5 million
* 150-seat addition to Frost Road Elementary school: $5.6 million
* 100-seat addition to Coyote Creek Elementary school: $4.9 million
* 700-seat addition to Sullivan Heights Secondary school: $40 million
* Site purchase for future Sunnyside area elementary school: $28.9 million
* Seismic upgrades at Bear Creek Elementary school: $3.1 million
* Seismic upgrades at Mary Jane Shannon Elementary school: $7.3 million
These investments, along with this year’s opening of the new Salish Secondary school and the completion of the expansion to École Woodward Hill elementary, will create over 7,000 new student seats in Surrey by 2021 or earlier, representing almost 300 portables. This means these students will soon be spending their days in positive, healthy and modern schools that align with 21st-century learning.
“As a result of this government’s commitment and funding, our district has seen more than 2,500 new student seats approved in just over a year and that has helped considerably to address our growth and space needs,” said Laurie Larsen, Surrey Board of Education Chairperson. “Our board is very pleased with how this government is working closely with us and that collaboration is resulting in an acceleration of projects, which is what Surrey needs. Our board has also contributed several millions of dollars to move these construction projects forward and it’s our hope that the ministry’s commitment and current pace continues, as it is making a difference.”
The government says it will continue to work with the Surrey School District to create additional space for students, with more investments to come in new schools, expansions and site purchases for future schools and seismic upgrades. This includes ongoing funding for the Surrey Capital Project Office to manage and accelerate capital projects and seismic upgrades.
Since September 2017, government has approved a total of $911.2 million to build, expand and upgrade schools, and to purchase land for future schools throughout B.C.
* The following expansion projects have opened this year, or have had funding approved and are in the design or construction phases:
* Salish Secondary (new school, opened 2018)
* Woodward Hill Elementary (addition, opened 2018)
* Panorama Park Elementary (addition, opens 2019)
* Pacific Heights Elementary (addition, opens 2020)
* Coyote Creek Elementary (addition, opens 2020)
* Frost Road Elementary (addition, opens 2020)
* Sullivan Elementary (addition, opens 2021)
* Douglas Area Elementary (new school, opens 2021)
* Edgewood Drive Elementary (new school, opens 2021)
* Grandview Heights Secondary (new school, opens 2021)
* Maddaugh Elementary (new school, opens 2021)
* Regent Road Elementary (new school, opens 2021)
* Sullivan Heights Secondary (addition, opens 2021)