Surrey School District plans for massive growth

District submits ‘wish list’ to help deal with 6,500 new students in next decade

A rendering of a new secondary school in the works in the Clayton area

A rendering of a new secondary school in the works in the Clayton area

SURREY— Surrey’s school district is expecting more than 6,500 new students over the next decade due to massive growth in the city.

More than 33,000 new residential units in Surrey and White Rock are expected over that time period. To accommodate that growth, the district predicts it will need three new schools and three expansions over that time.

Land acquisition alone will come with a price tag of roughly $58 million, according to the district, and that doesn’t factor in construction costs.

“That’s the cost of bare land,” said district spokesman Doug Strachan. “Construction costs would be on top of that. There are also costs for architectural planning as well.”

Meanwhile, the district has submitted its five-year capital plan, essentially a “wish list” for the district, according to Strachan.

“They’re on the plan because we still haven’t got anything in the way of a go-ahead,” in terms of government funding, added Strachan.

Identified as the top five priorities in that plan are a new Grandview Heights Secondary school, as well as several new elementary schools, two in Clayton, one in Grandview and one in Port Kells.

A few projects are under construction. A two-classroom addition is nearly completed at Rosemary Heights Elementary and Morgan Elementary is getting a four-classroom addition.

A 10-classroom addition to Adam’s Road Elementary is also underway.

At a board meeting last week, a $38.7-million contract was awarded to DGS Construction Company to begin building a secondary school in north Clayton.

The new high school will alleviate overcrowding at the nearby Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary. That project is expected to break ground early next year and occupancy is expected in the spring of 2018.

“Those are the ones that are active right now,” said Strachan. “The rest we hope and pray.”

This school year, 928 additional students enrolled in the Surrey School District, enough to fill two elementary schools to the brim.

To deal with overcrowding, Surrey utilizes roughly 300 portables district-wide. That comes with a cost of $4.5 million, enough to pay 50 teaching positions.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com