Students and families in the Tri-Cities are starting to see new and improved schools in their community, with 935 new student seats either opened or under construction in the Coquitlam School District.
“Supporting families in growing regions like the Tri-Cities means investing in schools to make sure students have the best opportunity to succeed in their education,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “Our government acted fast to address the longstanding need to provide modern, seismically safe classrooms. And we are continuing that work to ensure students are learning in the best environments possible.”
In less than four years, the Government of B.C. has announced nearly $100 million to build, expand or replace five schools in the Coquitlam School District. This includes replacing Irvine Elementary with a new, expanded and seismically safe school, building a new Sheffield Elementary school on Burke Mountain and classroom additions at Panorama Heights Elementary, Westwood Elementary and Dr. Charles Best Secondary.
Also recently completed is the replacement of Minnekhada Middle school in Port Coquitlam.
“We are extremely pleased that capital investment and capital projects have continued and remained on pace, despite recent challenges,” said Kerri Palmer Isaak, chair, Coquitlam School District Board of Education. “We are proud the district has been able to move forward in providing students with innovative and sustainable facilities that support emerging learning needs.”
In addition to more classrooms for local students, more child care spaces are on the way.
The Irvine Elementary replacement project includes building the Learning Experience Children’s Centre Ltd. The centre will offer expanded child care programs and is expected to open in spring 2022. The expanded program will include 60 new licensed spaces: 10 for children aged three years to kindergarten, 10 preschool spaces and 40 spaces for school-age children. The new Sheffield Elementary also includes funding for a neighbourhood learning centre that is anticipated to house additional child care programs.
“At the same time as new, safer schools are opening their doors, families will also be able to access more affordable, high-quality and inclusive child care spaces,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Offering child care on school grounds provides peace of mind and convenience for parents, while also supporting children with a smooth transition into the K-12 system.”
Each of these investments is part of government’s work to build new and expanded schools so students can learn in modern, engaging and inspiring environments.
Since September 2017, the Province has announced over $2.2 billion for school capital projects, including nearly $760 million to add 13,280 new student seats to schools throughout B.C.
Mike Farnworth, MLA for Port Coquitlam –
“We are so proud of the remarkable progress we are making in bringing more classrooms to students in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam. I can’t wait to see a brand-new Irvine Elementary benefiting students and the community in Port Coquitlam very soon, just as the now-completed addition at Westwood Elementary already is.”
Rick Glumac, MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam –
“As families continue moving to our communities, it’s so important that we effectively invest in schools and support students with the best learning experience possible. I know there is more work to be done, and I’m excited to say that more support for schools in the Tri-Cities is on the way”
Fin Donnelly, MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain –
“Burke Mountain has been growing rapidly, and soon young families will be able to send their children to school close to home at Sheffield Elementary. Our government will continue working to provide students in fast-growing communities like Coquitlam the opportunity to learn in modern, engaging and inspiring classrooms in their neighbourhoods.”
A backgrounder follows.