Open design for new Clayton high school

Flexible design to promote collaboration among students and teachers

The new secondary school is set to open in September 2018.

As reported a few weeks ago, work has begun on Clayton North Secondary School’s parking lot.

According to Doug Strachan, the Surrey School communication services manager, the capital project cost for the school – including design and construction – is $55,170,850.

Construction work, which began in the beginning of January is expected to finish in 2018.

Strachan added the district “anticipates occupancy for September 2018.”

The new secondary school’s (184 Street and 73 Avenue) capacity will be 1,500 students which is the projected need for the area when the school is completed.

There are ministry guidelines for the the sizes of schools, but incorporated into the plans, are areas where future additions could be made.

The projected capacity could change in the couple of years in takes to build a school. This could mean schools are at capacity after a few years or at capacity on opening.

Two examples of this are; Katzie Elementary, which opened in April 2014, and had five new portables added before the new school year in September 2015; and Hazelgrove Elementary opened with portables already on the property.

Both of those schools, as well as Clayton North Secondary, are in the Clayton neighbourhood of Cloverdale which is one of Surrey’s fastest growing communities. Clayton is expected to see about 16,000 new residents in the next 30 years.

Unfortunately, as Strachan told The Reporter, “You can’t build yourself a buffer.”

Strachan said there have been instances where additions were made to schools in the process of being designed and built, but those additions would need to be addressed in the early stages.

With and area of 13,685 m2, Clayton North Secondary will feature 10 “Learning Communities,” which are pods that feature several learning “studios,” break-out space, collaboration space and an “exploration lab.”

The Learning Communities are much larger than typical classrooms with walls that can move. The design is meant for more flexibility in learning.

The pods will be “more transparent, open spaces” with windows, said Strachan.

The school has MADD (Music, Art, Drama and Dance) studios, TED (Technology, Engineering and Design) labs, discovery labs, learning commons with Makerspaces, a multi-purpose gathering space and two gyms.

Makerspaces – while not a new idea – “provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering,” according to

Makerspaces are not just science labs, woodshops, computer labs or art rooms, but can contain elements from all of those including such as prototyping, woodworking, electronics, robotics, digital fabrication, textiles and sewing.

All of the labs and studios were designed to maximize space, so there would be more open spaces and collaboration.

North Clayton Secondary will be unique in the district with its incorporation of pods and labs and “open and efficient use of space to promote collaboration,” Strachan said.

This is all in support of the new curriculum which is all about big ideas and exploring those ideas.


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