Construction on five Surrey school projects has been delayed because the bids to build them came in too high.
It comes as the province is pledging to move 7,000 students in the crowded school district out of portables in the next three years.
The delayed projects include a new Grandview Heights Secondary School, the new Maddaugh Road Elementary School in Cloverdale, new elementary schools in the Douglas and Edgewood Drive areas, and an addition to Pacific Heights Elementary.
“We are disappointed the contract bids came in so high,” said Surrey School District spokesperson Doug Strachan.
WATCH: (Aired Aug. 23) The Surrey school district already earmarked more than 340 portables this year
“It’s an unusual construction market for everyone but we’ll work with everyone to move the project forward as quickly as we can.”
The Surrey School District is the fastest growing in the province with more than 71,000 students currently enrolled. Last year, it was home to 314 portables.
Despite the delayed projects, the province said on Wednesday that it was committed to getting Surrey’s students out of portables and into classrooms by 2021.
The Ministry of Education says the recently completed Salish Secondary School and École Woodward Hill expansion, along with $166.7 million in capital funding approved this year for two new elementary schools, four additions, land for a new school and two seismic upgrade projects, will eliminate the equivalent of 300 portables.
WATCH: (Aired Aug. 30) Surrey students return to state-of-the-art school
Those two new elementary schools and one of the additions are among the projects facing delays.
However, Education Minister Rob Fleming said the government is still confident the projects will be completed by their 2021 target date.
“They are re-tendering those projects, we have funded the additional money. We acted really quickly on doing that, so they’re back in the market on some of those projects already,” he said.
“So far, more than a dozen construction companies have responded to the request for qualifications. They’re all being staged over the next six to eight weeks and they have the money to meet the rising construction costs. That was our main thing, saying, ‘Let’s not let the cost increases delay the projects.’
The ministry says it is continuing to work with the Surrey School District to make spaces for students with more new schools, additions and seismic upgrades to come.
It says since September 2017, the province has approved more than $900 million in capital funding for schools around the province.