Will two new schools in Newton and Clayton serve their neighbourhoods enough?

photo by Audrey McKinnon

The Surrey school board awarded the construction contracts of two new elementary schools at last week’s board meeting.

Both contracts of about 10 million dollars each are the follow-up of an announcement last October by Premier Christy Clark to build two new elementary schools in Surrey along with other Surrey schools additions. They are set to be completed tentatively by January 2014, but Surrey schools trustee Charlene Dobie says the schools are already needed.

“Those two neighbourhoods are in need of more schools. There’s a lot of growth there specifically,” she said.

Goldstone Park Elementary will be built in the neigbourhood of East Clayton and Katzie Elementary in Newton.

A fast growing region:

BC Stats reports in the 2011 census that the East Clayton census tract was the fastest growing census tract in Metro Vancouver. The population went from 4,000 to 14,000, more than tripling in size.

Hazelgrove Elementary in East Clayton has an enrollment of over 900 students this year, only its third year being open. Enrollment is so high, that the school made an annex of 160 kindergarten students last year.

Goldstone Park will help serve the catchment of students in the region. Dobie said that won’t be for another two years, but she said this step is still a good sign.

“It’s subject to receiving government funding, but I think that it’s in the bag,” she said. “The shovel’s going into the ground.”

B.C.’s role:

The B.C. government announced a multi-billion dollar deficit this year after repaying the Federal government $1.6 billion for throwing out the HST. A provincial contribution of $350 million to Surrey schools is anticipated after Premier Clark’s announcement last year.

“We do what we can to let everyone know in government that we’re in need,” Dobie said about letting the provincial government know about the growing population in Surrey and a need for more schools.

New construction:

The construction contracts were awarded to Olivit Construction and Procan Construction Group, the lowest bidders of six and seven construction companies each bidding on the new school contracts.

Katzie Elementary will be built on 194A Street and Goldstone Park will be on 146 Street.

I would like to hear from you:

Do you live in either of these regions? Do your kids go to school there?

Do you think the school board and the province are doing enough to help Surrey deal with this rapid growth and need for schools?

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