Seismic upgrades have been completed at two Surrey elementary schools at the cost of $21.4 million.
The upgrades at George Greenaway and Holly elementary schools are among six seismic upgrades in the Surrey School District since September 2017.
Jennifer Whiteside, provincial minister for education and child care, said during a presser Monday at George Greenaway, at 17285 61A Ave., that it’s “particularly wonderful” to see students moving into “safer learning environments.
“At the heart of any great community is a wonderful school,” she said, “where kids feel safe and secure and inspired.”
Since 2017, she said, the government has invested $57 million for seismic upgrades at six schools in Surrey, “giving nearly 4,120 students a safer place to learn.”
And over the past five years, Whiteside added, the government invested $475 million for “new and improved” schools in Surrey and the 2022 budget includes $3.1 billion for school capital projects over the next three years. Since 2017, she said, “We’ve added just about 10,000 additional seats to Surrey.”
“It’s great to see that because of our investment this is the first year that Surrey, this is one of the first years that the Surrey school district didn’t purchase, have to purchase portables to meet new demands,” Whiteside said. “With 1,800 new seats planned to open for September 2022, the school district isn’t expecting to purchase any portables either for the upcoming year.”
Laurie Larson, chairwoman of the Surrey Board of Education, said while the threat of earthquakes isn’t something most people think about very often, “safety and peace of mind is something we all seek.”
“While our board has long been lobbying for funding to build new schools and school additions, school safety is always a priority for us, so the completion of seismic upgrades at both schools is something that we are particularly pleased to see.”
Meantime, Whiteside said the government is “about halfway through” the list of schools that need seismic upgrading in B.C.
“So far, we have completed 58 seismic mitigation projects with another 14 in development and we will, again as part of our $3.1 billion spend over the next three years, close to $800 million of that is dedicated to accelerating our seismic mitigation program.”
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