The Surrey school district is looking for sites for eight new schools, according to its 2022-23 five-year capital plan, and that includes a site for a future second high school in South Surrey’s Grandview Heights neighbourhood.
And that’s despite Grandview Heights Secondary just opening up to students earlier this month.
That high school, which is starting with about 1,000 students in grades 8 to 11, has a total capacity of 1,500 students.
Kelly Isford-Saxon, the district’s manager of demographics and facilities planning, described the Grandview Heights community as “ever-growing.”
Isford-Saxon gave an overview of the five-year capital during Wednesday’s (Sept. 15) board of education meeting, highlighting a $1.44-billion capital plan funding request for 27 projects that include new student spaces, seismic upgrades and replacement schools.
Of the capital plan requests, she said the top-five priorities are: a 500-seat addition at Fleetwood Park Secondary, a new Newton-area secondary school, a new site and elementary school in the Clayton area, a new site and school in the Anniedale/Tynehead area and a 17-classroom addition at McLeod Road Traditional Elementary School.
“Our number-one priority is Fleetwood Park Secondary,” noted Isford-Saxon. “It’s necessary and needed now for each year this particular school requires a portable in order to deal with growth.”
A 500-seat addition was one of the campaign promises from the provincial NDP during last year’s snap election. A 500-seat addition was also promised for Clayton Heights Secondary, despite Salish Secondary (which opened in 2018) to ease overcrowding at Clayton and Lord Tweedsmuir.
Isford-Saxon added the district hopes to purchase a site in Newton for a new secondary by March 2022 because it can take several years for a new high school to go from the planning stages to opening.
Around this time last year, Isford-Saxon gave a presentation on the district’s five-year capital plan and it’s long-range facility plan, which proposed 13 new schools in the next decade.
She said while the district’s mission to “basically trying to get chairs in the right places for the students that are going to show up” hasn’t changed, the city’s 2020 projection for new housing has increased by roughly 20,000 units from 2019.
In the city’s 10-year housing projection for 2019, it projected 47,562 units by 2029. However, in the 2020 projection, the city is projecting 67,389 units by 2030.
“So roughly, in a space of a year, they’re adding close to 20,000 new homes.”
Another change between the two years, is that in the 2019 projections, roughly 18,400 units were expected to be apartments. However in the 2020 projects, apartments are expected to account for 39,761 of the 67,389 units.
The areas with the most projected growth, she said, are City Centre, Guildford and South Surrey.
Trustee Gary Tymoschuk said the change in projected growth is “incredibly significant,” but he asked Isford-Saxon if school-aged children will actually be living in those units.
Isford-Saxon said even now, low-rise buildings typically have families, but she noted the city is pushing for a lot of highrises to have a dedicated amount of two- or three-bedroom units in the builings.
“Now, all of a sudden, you’re creating the kind of space that allows families to live in an apartment.”
The board unanimously approved the minor and major five-year capital plan projects to be submitted to the Ministry of Education.