It’s about time.
On Tuesday morning, Surrey learned it will finally be able to build new school space for its ever-growing number of students.
The provincial government announced $300 million in capital funding will be spent on 19 projects in seven school districts throughout B.C.
We get our fair share; of the 19 projects, eight are in Surrey.
The money will fund additions to two high schools – Fraser Heights and Panorama Ridge secondaries.
Those two high schools have 30 portables between them.
South Newton and East Clayton – both rapidly developing areas –will also be home to two new elementary schools.
And cash to purchase land for four new schools – two elementary and two secondary – was also given to the Surrey School District.
Surrey Board of Education chairperson Laurae McNally summed the news up best: “It’s a wonderful day in the neighbourhood,” she repeated, in reference to children’s entertainer Mr. Rogers. “We’re very happy.”
The money couldn’t have come soon enough.
The district has received no new school capital funding since 2005. There are more than 250-plus portables perched on local school grounds and two Surrey high schools have had to adopt an extended timetable this year.
Although critics point out Surrey needs six schools now and another eight in the next five years just to keep pace with growth, McNally said the new money addresses Surrey’s most immediate needs.
The funding is most welcome, but Surrey will have to remain patient for a little longer.
Even if construction were to start right away, it takes at least two or three years to build a school.
Let’s get to work.