Surrey families and future residents will benefit as the Province confirms the acquisition of two more school sites.
Securing the sites will help with future planning, so schools can be built more quickly.
“Our government is acting now to make sure land is in place to build new schools for students, as Surrey’s population continues to grow,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “These are forward-thinking investments that will be vital to getting more students out of portables and into the positive, engaging and inspiring classrooms that they deserve.”
The Government of B.C. is providing $25.5 million for the Surrey School District to purchase a school site in the Redwood Heights neighbourhood. The school district has also secured a school site for a new elementary school in the South Newton neighbourhood. These land purchases are in addition to the land that was purchased for an elementary school in Sunnyside Heights last year.
The site purchases are part of the collaborative, ongoing work by the Province, the Surrey School District and the City of Surrey, with a common goal to find new ways to accelerate the pace of school construction for Surrey students and families. The three parties met on Jan. 28, 2020, at the fifth Surrey Schools Summit to continue that work.
New schools will be needed soon in Redwood Heights, South Newton and Sunnyside to accommodate new and existing developments that are adding thousands of new families to the communities.
“Today’s announcement of new school sites for Surrey lines up with the Smart Development initiative my council colleagues and I have put in place for our city,” said Doug McCallum, mayor of Surrey. “It’s no secret that for far too long, developments in Surrey were being approved without the essential infrastructure, such as schools, needed to support a new community. With Smart Development, the City of Surrey has purchased property for parkland use that will complement the new school and any future development in the Redwood Heights neighbourhood.”
Smart Development is at the centre of the City of Surrey’s long- and short-range development planning that focuses on offering residents diverse housing options near essential infrastructure, such as schools and parks. It also prioritizes the conservation of sensitive ecosystems, while ensuring that Surrey continues to advance as one of Canada’s most liveable cities, with safe routes for walking, cycling and recreation.
Since September 2017, the Province has announced $270.5 million for new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades, and land purchases for future schools in Surrey. This is helping to add nearly 7,500 new student seats in Surrey between 2018 and September 2022.
The district has also been supported to develop business cases for more expansion projects that are expected to add an estimated 2,000 additional student seats to fast-growing communities in Surrey.
“The Surrey School District is the largest and fastest-growing district in the province. Our student population has been steadily increasing every year,” said Laurie Larsen, chair, Surrey Board of Education. “We currently have almost 74,000 students, and we’re projecting an additional 1,000 students for the next school year. This type of growth requires strong partnerships with all levels of government. I am so proud of the collaborative relationship we have with the Ministry of Education and the City of Surrey. Together, we are addressing the growth our community is experiencing and finding sustainable solutions that work for parents and students.”
Government is making record investments in B.C. schools to give every student the best learning experience possible. In two and a half years, the Province has approved nearly $1.8 billion in school capital investments, creating almost 11,000 new student seats and 24,000 seismically safe seats.
To continue this momentum, Budget 2019 includes a historic $2.7 billion for school capital investments over three years.
A backgrounder follows.