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B.C. pledges $9.6M to move Surrey school children out of portables
The province has pledged $9.6 million for an expansion at Sullivan Elementary in Surrey to help move students out of portables.
The addition is expected to create 200 more spaces at the school in the form of eight new classrooms and a larger gymnasium.
The Surrey School District is contributing $1.5 million towards the project, which the province says was originally promised by the previous government at a cost of $3.9 million, but not constructed.
“We are quite literally bursting at the seams,” said Sullivan Elementary Parent Advisory Council president Elaine Rorison.
Premier John Horgan said Surrey has the fastest-growing school district in the province.
“This is a very positive step forward, one that we’ve been waiting for for a long, long time,” Horgan said.
Surrey has more than 300 school portables, where around 7, 000 students attend class. Bear Creek Elementary hasn’t had to add any portables yet, but according to the school’s parent advisory council chair Rina Diaz, it seems inevitable.
“The growth is expanding way too fast, too many houses are going up,” Diaz told CTV News Vancouver. With all the new development in Bear Creek’s catchment area, Diaz said the school’s population has already jumped compared to last year, and she added there’s not much room left.
“The announcement is great news, it’s a step in the right direction, for sure. But we need to start planning further, seeing the bigger picture, seeing the future as it’s developing. It’s developing faster than we can get caught up with,” Diaz said.
Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming both hinted at more funding to come for the district, where a number of other school expansions are planned or underway. They include:
- Panorama Park Elementary (expected completion in 2019)
- Pacific Heights Elementary (expected completion in 2020)
- Coyote Creek Elementary (expected completion in 2020)
- Frost Road Elementary (expected completion in 2020)
- Sullivan Heights Secondary (expected completion in 2021)
New schools are also scheduled to open in Surrey in 2021, including:
- Douglas Area Elementary
- Edgewood Drive Elementary
- Grandview Heights Secondary
- Maddaugh Elementary
- Regent Road Elementary
The expansion at Sullivan Elementary is expected to be finished by September of 2020.