Year of record investment in B.C. schools benefits students

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Rob FlemingVictoria: Students throughout British Columbia are benefiting from record investments in safe and modern learning environments.

“We are working hard to give students the best learning environment possible, and that means investing in new and safer facilities that will allow students to thrive,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “We will continue accelerating seismic upgrades, adding more student spaces and purchasing land to build new schools, as we ensure British Columbians have the knowledge, skills and opportunities to help people in our province prosper.”

Since September 2017, government has announced $639 million in capital projects (including new schools, additions, upgrades and land purchases for future schools) that will create more than 4,600 new student spaces. The investments will also fund the upgrades or replacement of more than 9,800 student spaces at schools with a high seismic risk.

The Province is working with school districts, local governments and other stakeholders to reduce the need for portables in fast-growing school districts throughout B.C.

“It has been encouraging to see the Province’s considerable investment over the last year in providing our growing district much-needed school spaces, as well as seismic upgrades,” said Laurie Larsen, Surrey Board of Education chair. “We’re excited to continue working with the Province to put students first and ensure the quality educational experience they deserve.”

Because of an accelerated Seismic Mitigation Program, students at Westview Secondary school (Maple Ridge), Fairview Elementary school (Maple Ridge) and Gibson Elementary school (Delta) will return to seismically upgraded facilities. Under the Seismic Mitigation Program, there are 14 other schools under construction and 18 schools proceeding to construction.

The following eight schools have recently had their upgrades completed in time for the coming school year:

  • Alpha Secondary (Burnaby, $27.2 million, 1,100 students)
  • Bear Creek Elementary (Surrey, $3.11 million, 550 students)
  • Fairview Elementary (Maple Ridge, $2 million, 434 students)
  • F.W. Howay Elementary (New Westminster, $3.95 million, 138 students)
  • Gibson Elementary (Delta, $1.6 million, 560 students)
  • Montecito Elementary (Burnaby, $3.85 million, 315 students)
  • Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith Elementary (Vancouver, $11.6 million, 387 students) – opens in October 2018 –
  • Westview Secondary (Maple Ridge, $1 million, 1,200 students)

Also this school year, thousands of new student spaces will be ready for learners and will reduce the number of portables in fast-growing districts throughout the province:

  • Promontory Heights Elementary (Chilliwack): $6.1-million, 200-seat expansion
  • Salish Secondary (Surrey): $55.2-million, 1,500-seat new school
  • Woodward Hill Elementary (Surrey): $5.8-million, 200-seat expansion
  • Smiling Creek Elementary (Coquitlam): $20.5-million, 430-seat new school.
  • Margaret (Ma) Murray Elementary (Fort St. John): $26.6-million, 365-student new school