Nearly 2,100 students, from grades 9 to 12, will move into a new home in 2019 with today’s announcement of the $106.5 million replacement of New Westminster Secondary school (NWSS).
As the largest school investment in British Columbia’s history, the replacement of NWSS has been a top priority for a number of years, due to the school’s poor condition and high seismic risk. The old school was built in 1949 and is one of the largest secondary schools in B.C.
The new school will be designed to meet today’s standards for safety, accessibility and modern learning. It will also be designed to accommodate enrolment growth and possible expansions.
A design-build process will be used to construct the school, which is expected to start in 2017. The new school is expected to open in December 2019 after which the old school will be demolished.
The existing school was built on land formerly used as a burial ground, public works yard and staging area for the military during the Second World War. The new school building will be located on portions of the site outside the burial areas. All work within the designated heritage areas will be monitored by an archeologist to ensure the heritage requirements are met and any historic artifacts are appropriately recorded.
As the project moves into the design stage, the Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism will lead a stakeholder advisory committee that will engage with First Nations, Chinese and other key groups. That engagement will determine the best way to memorialize what happened on the old school site.
Government is able to make investments like New Westminster Secondary school, thanks to the Province’s fiscal discipline and strong economy. The project will also help ensure young people get a chance to learn the trades as it will be built under B.C.’s Apprentices on Public Projects Policy.
Mike Bernier, Minister of Education –
“Students and parents have a lot to celebrate with today’s announcement – and I am happy we are moving forward. This project has been a long time in coming and I know it will change the future of education in New Westminster, while protecting the historical significance of this site.”
Jonina Campbell, board chair, New Westminster School District –
“The replacement of New Westminster Secondary school is the final major piece in the current Capital Plan projected for the New Westminster School District. This wonderful and long-awaited announcement will mean that our children will be able to look forward to attending a state-of-the-art school that will assist all students in pursuing their passions in a modern learning environment.
“We would like to thank the Ministry of Education for making this possible today. It will be a massive undertaking. We also would like to thank the City of New Westminster for their support and contributions. Last, but certainly not least, we thank the people of New Westminster who, at long last, can share in the wonderful news that this day has brought forward.”
Hilbert Yiu, president of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver –
"This parcel of land has a very rich and complex history. We are encouraged to learn that the new school building will not be built over any former burial sites. We also welcome plans for broad community consultations and look forward to contributing to that process."
- Since 2001, government has invested more than $36 million in capital projects in the New Westminster School District, including École QayQayt Elementary school (replacement school for John Robson), the new Fraser River Middle school, an addition to Lord Kelvin Elementary school and two school enhancement projects at Lord Kelvin Elementary and Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary schools.
- In addition, government has invested more than $3.1 million for additional space for full-day kindergarten.
- Over the past 15 years, government has distributed $14.7 million in annual facilities grant funding to the New Westminster School District.
New Westminster School Board: http://district.sd40.bc.ca/
Apprentices on Public Projects Policy: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/construction-industry/apprentices