The fastest growing school district in the province is about to get some new classrooms.
The provincial government has announced $64 million in funding for the Surrey school district, which will go towards a new elementary school, additions to two existing schools and the purchase of land needed to build another school.
“Surrey students and their families have been waiting too long for new classrooms for their growing school district,” Premier John Horgan said. ” The wait is over. We’re getting it done. We are delivering the safe and comfortable schools kids in Surrey deserve.”
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The new school will be built in the Douglas area of South Surrey. Both Frost Road Elementary and Coyote Creek Elementary will be expanded and land has been purchased for a new school in Grandview Heights.
The B.C. NDP focused in on Surrey schools during last year’s election campaign. The party pledged to get rid of portables in the city, a growing problem due to overcrowded classrooms. The government is struggling to rein in the portables, with the cost to maintain them going up against this year.
But Horgan says Monday’s announcement is just a start for Surrey. The government has established an office in the community to help track growth and focus on what resources are needed. The province then wants to invest more in additional schools and to tackle the portable goal.
“We can’t do it unless we have accurate information,” Horgan said. “As kids are registering in September we have got a sense of that data but also the data we can get from city hall about what the growth projections are. We are behind the eight-ball in Surrey, we know that. We have made this a big priority two years before the last election.”
The new school slated for Surrey will cost $24.3 million and accommodate 605 students. Construction is expected to start in March 2019 and be completed by December 2020.
The $5.6-million addition at Frost Road Elementary school will create six classrooms, with space for 150 more students. That work will allow the district to remove four portables at the school.
Coyote Creek Elementary school’s $4.9-million expansion will add four classrooms, creating 100 new spaces for students. In that case, two portables will be removed once the project is complete.
“We have been working hard to accelerate the approval of capital and seismic projects throughout B.C.,” Minister of Education Rob Fleming said.
“These three projects and the land purchase will relieve pressure on the surrounding schools in Surrey, reduce the number of students learning in portables, and make life better for students, educators and parents.”