A future school in Surrey’s Sullivan neighbourhood will be named Snokomish Elementary School.
During Wednesday (Sept. 15) board meeting, superintendent Jordan Tinney recent engagement on the district’s school-naming policies and the protocols for naming schools, adding it’s “always a challenge” to get names.
Tinney said in ongoing discussions with the Semiahmoo First Nation and Chief Harley Chappell, things to consider when naming a new school site are: appropriate translations of ideas, considering traditional place names and making names of significance.
When it comes to the future school site at 148 Street and 58 Avenue, Tinney said the nation and Chappell proposed the name Snokomish.
A report from the school-naming committee says the “pronunciation is on the first syllable distinct from the term Snohomish that we often hear south of the border.”
The report adds, Snokomish was a community from the area around the school and down into the flats to the south.
It notes the Snokomish “were greatly reduced by smallpox and influenza. As Chief Chappell understands it, the survivors were at risk from northern nations, so they joined with the Semiahmoo and the Kwantlen peoples.”
The recommendation for the name is the result of ongoing collaboratio and a “very thorough archeological study” done by the Semiahmoo First Nation.
The motion to name the school Snokomish passed unanimously.
The school was first announced in January of 2020, along with another school planned for South Surrey’s Redwood Heights neighbourhood. The site for Snokomish, which will back onto Goldstone Park, was purchased by the Ministry of Education for $18 million that same month.
In April of this year, the ministry released more information about the school, including that it will seat 655 students and will have before- and after-school child-care spaces.
The provincial government also noted it will be providing $38.9 million to build the school, while the district is kicking in an additional $5 million.
It’s set to open in 2025, with construction starting in the spring of 2023.