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Province supports planning for new Darts Hill Elementary & Grandview Heights Secondary addition

darts-hill-grandview-heights-rachna-laurie.jpgMinister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh, with Surrey Board of Education Chair Laurie Larsen, announced Friday the province's support of the planning for the new Darts Hill Elementary and an addition to Grandview Heights Secondary in South Surrey Surrey. (Photo by Jacob Zinn)

Two new Surrey Schools capital projects in South Surrey are being supported by the provincial government’s Budget 2024 investment strategy in an effort to help mitigate overcrowding issues in the area.

Announced today (March 1), the Ministry of Education and Child Care has expressed support for district staff to develop business cases for the new Darts Hill Elementary and an addition to Grandview Heights Secondary, as part of Budget 2024, the largest school capital budget in B.C.’s history.

Darts Hill Elementary is the top priority for new schools on the district’s 2024-25 Five-Year Capital Plan while Grandview Heights Secondary is the second priority for additions.

“Our school district has been growing at a very rapid pace, averaging over 2,400 new students annually in the past two years,” said Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. “This level of growth underscores the urgent need for investments like this in new schools and expansions. We are very appreciative that these two projects can now move ahead to the business planning phase, and we look forward to continuing to work with the province to further increase capacity in our district.”

A business case details the scope, schedule and budget for capital projects, and is presented to the government for final funding approval. On average, a business case takes eight months to finalize. If approved, the new Darts Hill Elementary and Grandview Heights Secondary addition would proceed to the design and construction phase.

darts-hill-grandview-heights-board.jpgFrom left, Surrey Board of Education Trustees Garry Thind and Bob Holmes, Minister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh, Board Chair Laurie Larsen, and Trustees Terry Allen and Laurae McNally. (Photo by Jacob Zinn)

Nearly 350,000 people have moved to B.C. in the past two and a half years. In Surrey, the Grandview Heights area has seen unprecedented enrolment growth that has outpaced school construction. Despite the openings of Douglas Elementary, Edgewood Elementary and Grandview Heights Secondary between November 2020 and September 2021 – and with Ta’talu Elementary scheduled to open in January 2025 – many schools are over capacity and are forecasted to continue growing.

In other parts of South Surrey, additions for Semiahmoo Trail and South Meridian elementary schools are currently under construction. Additionally, last year, expansions opened at Morgan, Sunnyside and White Rock elementary schools to help alleviate overcrowding.

Over the past seven years, the B.C. government has committed more than $750 million to create 12,400 new seats in the district, including many of the above projects. Surrey opened an addition to K.B. Woodward Elementary at the start of the 2023-24 school year, and construction is currently underway for the new Snokomish Elementary. The province has also earmarked funding for three new prefabricated additions at Lena Shaw, Walnut Road and Woodland Park elementary schools, as well as additions for Kwantlen Park, Guildford Park and Tamanawis secondary schools.

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