More school space for Surrey students

Largest school district in B.C. receives money for new schools, additions and land.



It’s been a long, long time coming, but Surrey will finally be able to build some new school space for its ever-growing number of students.

The provincial government is providing $300 million in capital funding to be spent on 19 projects in seven school districts throughout B.C. Of the 19 projects, eight are in Surrey, totaling about $102 million.

The money targets expansions to two high schools – Fraser Heights Secondary, which has 16 portables on site, and Panorama Ridge Secondary, where there are 14 portables.

Also planned are two new elementary schools in the rapidly growing neighbourhoods of South Newton and East Clayton, as well as money to purchase land for four new schools – two elementary and two secondary – in the hopes of eventually relieving severe overcrowding at Earl Marriott Secondary (EMS) and Lord Tweedsmuir (LT) Secondary.

With no new school capital provided since 2005, about 250-plus portables littering local school grounds and EMS and LT forced to adopt an extended timetable this year, the money couldn’t have come soon enough.

Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurae McNally was thrilled her board’s longtime plea for funds was finally heard.

“It’s a wonderful day in the neighbourhood,” she repeated, in reference to children’s entertainer Mr. Rogers. “This announcement addresses our most immediate needs.”

Some Surrey Civic Coalition (SCC) trustee candidates slammed Monday’s funding announcement at Hazelgrove Elementary, saying it’s simply not enough and Surrey requires six schools now and another eight in the next five years just to keep pace with growth.

“Surrey needs more than this,” acknowledged Premier Christy Clark , saying it wouldn’t be the last funding announcement made. “There’s more to do, there’s no doubt about it.”

McNally remained grateful.

“Considering we’re getting a third of what’s announced for the entire province, we’re very happy, especially in these tough economic times,” she said.

While pleased some funding is heading to Surrey, Bob Holmes, co-chair of Surrey’s District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), was glad to hear Clark say more money would be coming.

Even if construction were to start now, it takes at least three years to build a school.

“Earl Marriott and Lord Tweedsmuir need a solution today,” said Surrey Teachers’ Association president Denise Moffatt. “It’s high time Surrey’s needs got addressed.”

McNally said the district will move quickly, with staff immediately scouting potential school land sites and architects secured within a week or two.

Other new and upgraded schools were announced for the Central Okanagan, Langley, Richmond, Vancouver, Sooke and the Conseil scolaire francophone.

An additional $30 million has been committed by Surrey through development cost charges, while Sooke will provide $30 million from a school sale.

Just Posted

Fraser Surrey Docks mechanic dies on the job

‘This is a very sad day - a worker went to his job this morning and didn’t go home’

PHOTOS: Canada Cup action continues at Softball City

The Futures Gold final is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Softball City’s diamond No. 1

White Rock senior breaks wrist after tripping on gravel patch

74-year-old woman, who fell at the corner of Fir and Russell, says no one stopped to help

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

VIDEO: Critter Care opens its doors

Thousands attend open house at Lower Mainland wildlife rehabilitation centre

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

PHOTO GALLERY: BC Games Day 2

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

ZONE 3: Luck played no part in getting Riley Ward to the BC Games

Langley baller flouts misfortune on the floor; he’d rather get by on hard work

BC Wildfire update on 14 major Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

Combined 584g of cocaine, fentanyl and meth found in Abbotsford home

Charges pending against a man and a woman after police execute search warrant on Larch St. home

Most Read