7,000 Sur­rey stu­dents move out from porta­bles into class­rooms

Asian Journal - - BRITISH COLUMBIA -

Sur­rey: More than 7,000 stu­dents in Sur­rey will move from porta­bles into class­rooms over the next three years, thanks to joint ef­forts by the B.C. gov­ern­ment and the Sur­rey School Dis­trict to ac­cel­er­ate school con­struc­tion.

“Sur­rey fam­i­lies have been watch­ing their com­mu­nity grow for years, but a lack of in­vest­ment led to over­crowd­ing in schools, forc­ing stu­dents into porta­bles for far too long,” said Rob Flem­ing, Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion. “Stu­dents in Sur­rey de­serve a bet­ter learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment and our gov­ern­ment is work­ing with the Sur­rey School Dis­trict to get kids out of porta­bles and into class­rooms as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

De­spite a rapidly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, only one new school has opened in Sur­rey since 2014, re­sult­ing in more than 7,000 stu­dents spend­ing their days in porta­bles. In the last year, to make up for that lack of in­vest­ment in Sur­rey stu­dents, gov­ern­ment has taken ac­tion by ap­prov­ing $166.7 mil­lion of fund­ing for the fol­low­ing projects:

• New 655-seat Edge­wood Drive el­e­men­tary school: $33.3 mil­lion

• New 605-seat Dou­glas-area el­e­men­tary school: $33.1 mil­lion • 300-seat ad­di­tion to Pa­cific Heights El­e­men­tary school: $10.5 mil­lion • 150-seat ad­di­tion to Frost Road El­e­men­tary school: $5.6 mil­lion • 100-seat ad­di­tion to Coy­ote Creek El­e­men­tary school: $4.9 mil­lion • 700-seat ad­di­tion to Sul­li­van Heights Sec­ondary school: $40 mil­lion • Site pur­chase for fu­ture Sun­ny­side area el­e­men­tary school: $28.9 mil­lion

• Seis­mic up­grades at Bear Creek El­e­men­tary school: $3.1 mil­lion • Seis­mic up­grades at Mary Jane Shan­non El­e­men­tary school: $7.3 mil­lion

Th­ese in­vest­ments, along with this year’s open­ing of the new Sal­ish Sec­ondary school and the com­ple­tion of the ex­pan­sion to École Wood­ward Hill el­e­men­tary, will cre­ate over 7,000 new stu­dent seats in Sur­rey by 2021 or ear­lier, rep­re­sent­ing al­most 300 porta­bles. This means th­ese stu­dents will soon be spend­ing their days in pos­i­tive, healthy and mod­ern schools that align with 21st-cen­tury learn­ing.

“As a re­sult of this gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment and fund­ing, our dis­trict has seen more than 2,500 new stu­dent seats ap­proved in just over a year and that has helped con­sid­er­ably to ad­dress our growth and space needs,” said Lau­rie Larsen, Sur­rey Board of Ed­u­ca­tion chair­per­son. “Our board is very pleased with how this gov­ern­ment is work­ing closely with us and that col­lab­o­ra­tion is re­sult­ing in an ac­cel­er­a­tion of projects, which is what Sur­rey needs. Our board has also con­trib­uted sev­eral mil­lions of dol­lars to move th­ese con­struc­tion projects for­ward and it’s our hope that the min­istry’s com­mit­ment and cur­rent pace con­tin­ues, as it is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.”

Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to work with the Sur­rey School Dis­trict to cre­ate ad­di­tional space for stu­dents, with more in­vest­ments to come in new schools, ex­pan­sions and site pur­chases for fu­ture schools and seis­mic up­grades. This in­cludes on­go­ing fund­ing for the Sur­rey Cap­i­tal Project Of­fice to man­age and ac­cel­er­ate cap­i­tal projects and seis­mic up­grades.

Rob Flem­ing

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