THE wait is over for students in New Westminster who have begun the New Year in a new, modern, engaging and inspiring secondary school that will benefit the community now and in the future, the Province announced on Tuesday.
“Students deserve to learn in modern and inspiring learning environments, and I am so excited that will now be the case for secondary school students in New Westminster,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education.” This new school is so important for our community, and I know that families in New West are thrilled to have a new, state-of-the-art facility that will benefit students for generations to come.”
The Province invested $106.5 million to replace New Westminster Secondary School (NWSS), one of the largest school capital projects in B.C.’s history. The new, 1,900-seat school is designed to meet today’s standards for safety, accessibility and modern learning. After a week of orientation and online learning, the school officially opened its doors to students on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.
“Whether it’s been the staff, students or the limited members of the community who have been able to join us for controlled walk-throughs the repeated words and phrases we’re hearing are: ‘Wow, it’s so open,’ and, ‘It’s so modern’ … and then more general comments about all the opportunity that’s just been opened up,” said Gurveen Dhaliwal, board chair at New Westminster Schools. “Not only does this new school stand out because it’s the only secondary school in our district, but it will stand as a flagship school in this larger region and across this province for the innovative way collaboration has been designed into every hallway and every classroom. This school has been built to support cutting-edge teaching and learning, and that’s going to allow us to better prepare our students for the changing and modern world they’re walking into.”
The original NWSS served the community since 1949. It will continue to be decommissioned and prepared for demolition, which will start by the end of the school year. The New Westminster School Board will lead the demolition project and has been working with the community and stakeholder groups to design a memorial passive park space that will take its place.
Since September 2017, the Government of B.C. has announced over $2.1 billion in school construction projects and land purchases to provide the best learning experiences possible for B.C. students. This includes $41 million to replace Richard McBride Elementary and for the now completed seismic upgrades at Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary in New Westminster.
To continue this momentum, Budget 2020 includes a record $2.8 million for seismic upgrades and replacements, new and expanded schools, and land purchases for future schools.