Expansion announced for overflowing elementary school in Vernon

More classrooms are en route for BX Elementary School in Vernon. On Friday, the provincial government announced a 240-expansion for the school, with construction to start this spring. Google Maps

An overflowing elementary school in Vernon will soon be expanding.

On Friday, the B.C. government announced that it will provide $11.1 million to build a 240-seat expansion at BX Elementary School. The Vernon School District will be providing $425,000.

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The addition is expected to be ready by September 2021.

“With the growth that Vernon has seen, it is vitally important to make sure students can go to school in positive, engaging environments,” Minister of Education Rob Fleming said in a news release.

“These new seats will ensure we are meeting the needs of students at BX Elementary and providing them with the best opportunities to succeed.”

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According to the ministry, BX Elementary is operating at 147 per cent of its 300-student capacity with five portables — a number expected to rise to 12 in the next 10 years without an addition.

“This is great news for School District 22,” Robert Lee of School District No. 22 said in the release. “We appreciate the support from the ministry in funding this project.”

He added that the expansion “provides our students and staff with a great place to learn, grow and work.”

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The ministry predicts the school will operate at 85 per cent capacity when the new classrooms are open.

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“On behalf of the BX Elementary families, we are very happy to hear today’s announcement,” said Amanda Connor, president of the BX parent advisory council.

“We have a tight-knit school community that is inclusive of all students, teachers and staff, and it will be great for all of our students to be under one roof, passing each other in the halls.”

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Construction is expected to begin on the new addition — the first school expansion completed in the district since 2003-04 — this spring. The ministry says students will be able to remain in the school while work is underway.

According to the ministry, the school was built in 1961 with six additions from 1972 to 1980.

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The ministry says the government has made record school investments totalling $1.1 billion in the last two years, almost half of which has gone toward creating new student seats and eliminating the equivalent of roughly 330 portables in the province.

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