Education Minister Rob Fleming checks out students’ work at Mary Jane Shannon elementary school on Friday. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

VIDEO: $10M in seismic upgrades announced for two Surrey schools

‘Long overdue’ upgrades are ‘to ensure our school are indeed safe,’ said Education Minster in Surrey

SURREY — Two Surrey elementary schools will receive $10.4 million between them in seismic upgrades, Education Minister Rob Fleming announced Friday.

Mary Jane Shannon elementary in Guildford, where the announcement was made, will receive $7.33 million to have its two-storey classroom block and its gymnasium upgraded, with construction to begin in the fall of 2018.

And Bear Creek elementary in Newton will receive $3.11 million for seismic upgrades to the school’s gymnasium and west block of classrooms. Construction is set to begin in July 2018 and the classrooms are expected to be completed by September that year and the gym, a month later.

Fleming made the announcent at Mary Jane Shannon, flanked by school children.

“The new government has made it a priority to expedite and improve the face of seismic investments in Surrey and right across British Columbia,” he told reporters, students and teachers in the 59-year-old school’s gymnasium Friday afternoon.

It’s all to “ensure our schools are indeed safe,” he added.

“Nothing is more important to me than the safety of students in B.C., and making this investment to ease the minds of hundreds of families in Surrey is an easy decision to make. We know we have more work to do in Surrey and throughout the province, and we are working with school districts and local governments to accelerate funding for seismic upgrades at every school that needs it.”

Friday’s announcement affects roughly 850 students. To date, 21 of 28 “high risk” schools in Surrey have undergone seismic upgrading.

Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen said the announcement “represents a milestone.”

She noted Mary Jane Shannon and Bear Creek elementary schools are the only two in Surrey with the “most vulnerable designation for seismic risk.”

“We are very very pleased to see these schools will soon be upgraded,” she said. “After these projects are complete we will have just five more schools that need funding for seismic upgrades, however they are all in the lower risk categories.”

See also: Names chosen for three new Surrey schools

See more: City, activists say school funding announcement ‘step in the right direction’

Last week, the province announced $24 million for a new elementary school in South Surrey’s Grandview Heights neighbourhood, and a $9-million expansion to Pacific Heights.

Meantime, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner welcomed the funding announcement.

“With the demands that have been placed on our school system, these projects will help address the overcrowded classrooms and the proliferation of portables in Surrey,” Hepner said in a release. “With the tremendous growth that Surrey has been experiencing, the infrastructure of our school system has been sorely left behind. I want to commend Premier (John) Horgan and Minister of Education, Rob Fleming for not only recognizing the need in Surrey but acting on addressing the issues of portables and overcrowding that have plagued Surrey schools for far too long.”

— with files by Amy Reid

Just Posted

South Surrey event to benefit efforts to help Cambodia rebuild

Cambodia ‘missing a whole generation’ due to Khmer Rouge genocide

White Rock couple to donate blood 325th time, collectively

Anne Friendly will make her 175th donation, while her husband Kevin Klop will donate his 150th time

South Surrey mothers to launch CBD-infused water product

Three friends say benefits may include anxiety relief, pain management

4-year-old child injured in Surrey after falling out window

Child fell out of third-storey window, expected to fully recover

City of White Rock hosts official pier reopening

Event included ribbon-cutting, speeches, live music

VIDEO: ‘Thrones,’ ‘Fleabag’ top Emmys

Billy Porter makes history as first openly gay black man to win best drama-series acting Emmy

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Give severely addicted drug users injectable medical-grade heroin, guideline says

CMAJ article outlines best practices for innovative treatment that’s been lacking in overdose crisis

B.C. court hears disclosure arguments in Meng Wanzhou case

Huawei exec argues she was unlawfully detained at YVR last December at direction of U.S. authorities

Trudeau attacks Scheer, Harper, Ford in first federal salvo for Ontario

Liberal leader targets three big conservative rivals in second full week of campaign

Over 200 Hotel Georgia hospitality workers join ‘open-ended strike’

Unionized workers at Hyatt Regency, Westin Bayshore and Pinnacle Harbourfront have also walked out

Hiker rescued after spending night on Crown Mountain

North Shore Rescue spotted the woman by helicopter over Hanes Valley

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Most Read