A new $23.2-million elementary school will be built on the old St. Mary's Hospital site in New Westminster. Parliamentary Secretary Jane Thornthwaite, parents, students, teachers and local officials came together to break ground on the project today.
The school, recently named Ecole Qayqayt (pronounced "Kee-Kite") Elementary after the local First Nation band, will feature five kindergarten rooms and 18 elementary classrooms for 100 full-day kindergarten students and 450 students in grades 1-5. Work will begin shortly with completion expected in fall 2014.
The elementary school is the first in a plan to develop three new schools for New Westminster including a middle school and a secondary school.
During construction of Ecole Qayqayt Elementary at the St. Mary's site, students will continue to attend Ecole John Robson Elementary. Upon completion of the new school, students will move from John Robson to Qayqayt. At that time, John Robson will be replaced by a new middle school. New Westminster Secondary will be replaced following completion of the new middle school on the John Robson site.
Qayqayt Elementary will feature an onsite Neighbourhood Learning Centre consisting of a day-care and multi-purpose space, offering programs and support services to be identified through community consultation.
The school will be built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Gold standards and will employ a heat recovery solar chimney and heat pump system to distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and cool the school in summer.
Don McRae, Minister of Education -
"We are committed to providing safe, modern and environmentally-friendly schools across the province and it is exciting to see this first step in a process that will lead to three of these new schools to serve New Westminster families."
Jane Thornthwaite, Parliamentary Secretary for Student Support and Parent Engagement -
"By including Neighbourhood Learning Centres in our new schools we are extending their use to the community and bringing citizens of all ages and interests into schools to enrich the learning experience of our students."
Michael Ewen, chair, New Westminster board of education -
"This is an exciting day for New Westminster students, parents and teachers. The construction of Ecole Qayqayt Elementary is a major milestone for the new schools project and will provide our students with a state-of-the-art facility."
Mayor Wayne Wright of New Westminster -
"The groundbreaking of Qayqayt Elementary signals the beginning of an exciting time for New Westminster. We're thrilled about plans to build three new schools to serve the children of our community, and what better way to start the project than with a state-of-the-art facility on the historic site of St. Mary's Hospital."
- There are more than 7,500 elementary, secondary and graduated adult students in the New Westminster school district.
- Since 2001, the government of B.C. has invested more than $12.7 million on capital projects in the New Westminster school district, including the new Queensborough middle school and an addition to Lord Kelvin Elementary.
- As well, the Province has invested more than $3.1 million for additional space for full-day kindergarten in the district.
- The B.C. government is currently working to upgrade, replace and build a total of 60 schools throughout B.C. over the next four years at a cost of approximately $1.5 billion.
Qayqayt Elementary flythrough: http://youtu.be/9d-fW4pKPaQ
New Westminster school district: http://district.sd40.bc.ca/
BC's Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education