One ice arena in Surrey will soon expand to include a private school that incorporates education, sports and arts.
Plans call for the Panorama-area building’s second floor to become classrooms for the new school, which will welcome students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 to start, with expansion to higher grades to follow in phases, as the redeveloped facility grows in size.
“The whole face of the building will change, and it looks amazing,” said Nadia Hasan, founding partner of the school and a South Surrey mother of three.
“All of the upstairs area will turn into classrooms, and the pub will become a cafeteria,” she added. “We have five classrooms upstairs planned for now, plus the cafeteria area. During school hours the pub will not be running, but after school hours the facility will continue to run as it has, for 3-on-3 hockey and those things, and the pub will go back into business – that kind of a cycle.”
Sports “expert streams” will be offered at Glarea, including hockey, skating, soccer, volleyball and aquatics, in addition to ones focused on dance, theatre, music and other arts.
The school name means “grit” in Latin, Hasan said.
“We always start the conversation with, ‘It’s a school, it’s not a sports academy,’” she explained. “With the name, ‘grit’ resonated with us as businesspeople, and some of us are educators, as something we see is lacking in a lot of children – the idea of persistence and resilience, falling down and getting back up, being OK with failing, and having them learn through that.”
Glarea’s website describes Challenge Based Learning as “an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking.”
— Glarea School (@GlareaSchool) August 22, 2019
The concept will be introduced at several open houses planned at the future school, starting Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at 15000 54A Ave., Surrey.
Glarea’s sports partners include former Vancouver Whitecaps soccer player Jay Demerit, hockey coach Darren Vetterl, skating instructor Tricia Jackson and volleyball coach Carter Walls. Aquatics classes will be held at nearby Tong Louie YMCA.
Signs advertising Glarea Elevated Learning are posted outside Excellent Ice, and on Friday painters worked to alter the look of the interior space.
The three-sheet arena, built and owned by Surrey-based Lark Group, has been in operation since 1999.
Kirk Fisher, senior vice-president of the development company, is a founding partner of Glarea Elevated Learning.
“We welcome this innovative school and its partners, like Arts Umbrella and sports experts like Jay Demerit, to be part of our expanded facility,” Fisher said in a release.
“As a proud community leader for the past 21 years, we’ve worked with thousands of families and kids through our hockey school program, and Learn to Skate program. We’ve wanted to add a formal education program and diversity into our sports culture and see Glarea and Arts Umbrella, etc., as perfect partners. Personally, I see the combination of these businesses as a gritty catalyst to boldly elevate anyone who enters the program.”
Building expansion plans were revealed in a report to Surrey city council last February, with hockey originally a lone focus of the planned “academy,” but other sports have since been added.
“The building will be sharing names, and it will be home to both uses – the school and the arena,” Hasan said. “We’re figuring out our final signage and things like that right now.”
Glarea’s school hours will be longer than those at a typical school, and the initial intake calls for around 20 students per grade.
”It’ll be a smaller school environment, with lower student-to-teacher ratio as well, so it’s 120 students to start is what we’re planning for,” Hasan said.
The school website shows tuition fees as $18,000 for academics, plus additional fees for the sports and arts streams, including $6,000 for hockey, $4,000 for soccer and $2,200 for media arts, among others.
“Grades will be added as kids age, all the way up to Grade 12 eventually, and that’s how we’re planning our phasing, in three phases of expansion,” Hasan said. “Depending on how we do and how many parents show interest, we may rush that phasing, but that’s the plan, adding one grade per year.”
Hasan said Glarea’s soccer program will be held at a park in the area, and gym space for volleyball is still being worked on, possibly at the nearby YMCA.