A 10-classroom, 250-seat addition is coming to Sunnyside Elementary, as part of efforts announced this week aimed at easing the pressures of South Surrey’s rapidly growing student population.
Minister of Education Rob Fleming shared the news Thursday during a media event at the 2828 159 St. school, during which Fleming also announced funds for the purchase of a new school site in the Darts Hill neighbourhood.
Work to get the addition built, he told a class of Grade 3 students, is to start “right away,” however, it won’t be completed until September 2022.
“We’ll have to still look at those portables a little bit longer, but help is on the way,” Fleming said.
The combined investment is a $25.4 million commitment from the province, including $14 million for the land purchase; the Surrey School District is contributing an additional $5 million for the Darts Hill site.
It’s “to correct the under-investment that Surrey has seen for far, far too long,” Fleming said.
In combination with an addition slated to open at nearby Pacific Heights Elementary next month and the anticipated opening of Edgewood Drive Elementary in September 2021, the addition to Sunnyside is expected to eliminate the need for 11 of 12 portables currently in use at the school.
Surrey Board of Education trustee Laurae McNally said Thursday’s news “really goes a long way to help us in this particular area – housing our children.”
“Our district requires government funding before we can add on to existing schools, or in fact, to purchase land for brand-new ones,” McNally said.
“We’re always happy to have Mr. Fleming here – with his chequebook – to announce new projects.”
Both the addition and the Darts Hill site were on a list of urgent projects that was submitted by the school district to the province two years ago as part of its 2019-2020 five-year capital plan requests. The addition was sixth on the 39-project list, while the Darts Hill site was fifth.
Fleming was in South Surrey a year ago to break ground on the 655-seat Edgewood Elementary. That $33-million project is under construction in the 16000-block of 23 Avenue, behind the City of Surrey’s South Surrey Operations Centre.
That groundbreaking followed the launch of construction on the 12-classroom Pacific Heights addition, as well as the start of work on a new, 1,500-seat Grandview Heights Secondary. The latter is also anticipated to open in 2021.