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It's another year of enrolment growth as the Surrey School District welcomes between 800 and 1,000 new students for the 2017-18 school year.
The additional students secure the district's distinction as the largest in B.C, with approximately 72,000 learners of all ages.
There will be 168 new classes in Surrey this year, 30 of which are due to normal enrolment growth, and 138 of which are a result of the November 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling restoring class size and composition to pre-2002 levels.
The number of new classrooms required this fall is equal to the number needed during five years of typical enrolment growth in Surrey schools.
The district has found the space for most of the required new classrooms; however, 50 additional portable classrooms were needed and ordered in the spring. While most have been delivered to their designated schools, a handful are due to arrive by mid-September at the latest and temporary arrangements have been made until the new portables can be occupied.
There will be a total of about 325 portables in the school district this year, as well as roughly 320 additional teachers in Surrey schools.
Facilities staff was busy during the summer break, completing about 160 projects, including painting the interior and exterior of several schools, upgrading gymnasium floors and replacing and upgrading heating and ventilation systems. Staff also renovated school space at many sites and upgraded and installed numerous portables to ensure sufficient classroom space is ready for the new school year.
While there are no new schools or school additions opening this September, construction is proceeding on Salish Secondary (184 Street and 73 Avenue), which is expected to be ready for September 2018 and have space for 1,500 Grade 8-12 students.
Other projects include a 200-space addition at École Woodward Hill Elementary, slated for fall 2018 completion, and a new elementary school in the Clayton neighbourhood targeted to open the following year.
There are also some exciting new programs launching in the district this year. The EKOLogy program at East Kensington Elementary takes the classroom into nature, using a multidisciplinary approach to connect the curriculum to the environment and taking advantage of the school's rural environment.
The YELL (Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad) program is also new to Surrey, offering students in Grades 10 to 12 a chance to spread their entrepreneurial wings by exploring business, innovation and networking in a real-world setting.