Surrey school district staff are moving ahead with plans for a 23-classroom addition at Fleetwood Park Secondary, which was one of two promises for Surrey students made by the BC NDP during the 2020 provincial election.
During the April 13 board of education meeting, Dave Riley gave trustees an update on the district’s capital projects, which includes the plan for Fleetwood Park Secondary.
“We have received support from the ministry, as mentioned previously, to begin a business case for Fleetwood Park Secondary, a much-needed addition and will greatly benefit the school community,” explained Riley, the district’s capital project office director.
It was during the 2020 provincial election campaign, that the BC NDP promised 500-seat additions at Fleetwood Park and Clayton Heights secondary schools.
The addition would bring the capacity at Fleetwood Park up to 1,700. As of September, 2021, there were 1,587 students enrolled at the school, with six portables on site.
Meantime, Clayton Heights currently has a capacity of 1,000, so the addition would bring it up to 1,500. As of last September, there were 1,287 students enrolled at the high school, with seven portables on site.
MLAs Jagrup Brar and Mike Starchuk, made the expansion announcement across the street from Fleetwood Park while campaigning on Oct. 14, 2020. They were even joined by federal NDP leader and MP Jagmeet Singh.
Brar, who was elected as the Surrey-Fleetwood MLA, said the expansion was a “priority.”
“Enrolment at Fleetwood Park Secondary has been steadily climbing for years to the point where it is 350 students over capacity – so we will act quickly to build this expansion before this problem becomes a crisis,” he said at the time.
Starchuk, who was elected MLA in Surrey-Cloverdale, said an expansion at Clayton Heights would mean the high school is “ready for continued growth, providing greater security for families who want to become part of our community.”
However, it was only a few years ago in the 2018/19 school year that Salish Secondary opened, taking students from both Clayton Heights and Lord Tweedsmuir, in a move to ease crowding in both.
On the school district’s website, it lists the Clayton Heights addition as a “future project.”
School district spokesperson Ritinder Matthew says there is no update on Clayton Heights.
“It’s a high priority for the board, but we haven’t received Ministry support for this project yet.”
At the time of the BC NDP’s promise, the two additions were estimated to be $38 million for each school.
Since the school district is working on a business case, there is no information as of yet on costs, but Riley did remind the board about increasing costs.
“On a less positive note, as the board is well aware, material prices and supply chain escalation continues to be a major issue that we are facing with certain commodities escalating 100 per cent in the last six months,” he explained.
“This is something we’re working on very actively and mitigating as much as we can with our subcontractors.”