SURREY SCHOOLS: Province announces $26M for new Clayton elementary

The much-needed elementary school is expected to be complete in the winter of 2020.

The provincial government has committed $26 million to a new Clayton elementary school.

CLAYTON — The provincial government has committed $26 million for a new Clayton elementary school.

The much-needed elementary school is expected to be complete in the winter of 2020 and the ministry says it will create 655 student spaces.

Education Minister Mike Bernier made the announcement at the Surrey District Education Office Tuesday.

The new 4,700 square-metre elementary school will be located at 186th St. and 74th Ave. in the northwest area of Clayton Heights. The province is contributing $21.7 million towards the three-storey building’s construction and the Surrey School District is providing $4.3 million.

This is the first priority project to come out of the Surrey project board, announced in January.

The board was established in January to “accelerate the construction and planning for 5,200 new student seat, with a $217-million funding envelope” with contributions from the province and the district. This latest announcement is coming from that funding.

See more: Province announces $217M in funding for Surrey schools

The board was also tasked with finding ways to fast-track the 4,200 seats that are currently underway, with a total price tag of almost $155 million. The projects include:

  • Expansions at Sullivan, Woodward Hill and Panorama Park elementary schools, creating 600 new student seats;
  • A new 1,500 seat Grandview Heights-area Secondary;
  • A new 605 seat Clayton North-area Elementary;
  • A new 1,500 seat Salish Secondary; and
  • Land has also been purchased for a future elementary school in Port Kells.

“It’s impressive that the Surrey project board has already chosen the first school construction project to be accelerated and developed a plan using the district’s priorities to drive construction forward and get more students into classrooms fast,” said Bernier in a release. “I’m confident that the board will continue to deliver and get shovels in the ground quickly on projects that will support the students and families of Surrey.”

Shawn Wilson, Surrey School District board chairperson, said he’s pleased the new project board is “following through on its commitment to expedite much-needed classroom space in Surrey neighbourhoods where it is needed most.

“Trustees have agreed on our district’s $4.3-million contribution toward an initial project,” Wilson continued, “a new elementary school in the northwest area of Clayton, and we are optimistic this new collaborative model will be more efficient in addressing our district’s significant and ongoing enrolment growth and in turn, better serve education in our community.”

Meanwhile, another Clayton North elementary is in the works (with a budget of $22.3 million), expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

In a letter to city council last fall, the school district noted enrolment in Clayton already exceeds capacity of the local schools. And it’s expected to “grow significantly” due to expansion of the east and west Clayton Neighbourhood Community Plans.

“The Clayton Elementary site cannot accommodate additional portables onsite so in September 2016 a large section of Clayton Elementary catchment is moving to Hazelgrove Elementary (which is also full),” the district wrote.

See related: Silence over Surrey’s jam-packed schools is ‘deafening,’ trustee says

“In addition to the three existing schools, Clayton, Hazelgrove and Katzie, the district is projected to need multiple new elementary schools to serve the long-term residential build out and population growth in the Clayton area.”

As for the high schools in the area, they remain under “extreme enrolment pressure.”

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com