Seventh Surrey Summit focuses on supporting student enrolment growth

February 1, 2022 at 4:57 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Thousands of students in Surrey are now enjoying the benefits of new and expanded schools in their neighbourhoods.

The Province, Surrey School District and City of Surrey are collaborating to ensure investments in schools keep pace with enrolment growth.

“We know that children benefit from learning in positive, engaging and inspiring classrooms, and that portables aren’t a sustainable solution for rapid growth,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “Our government has made investments in Surrey schools a key priority right from the start, and we’re continuing to work together with our partners to make sure we’re building schools where families want to live.”

On Feb. 1, 2022, Whiteside and Ministry of Education staff joined leadership from the Surrey School District and City of Surrey for the seventh Surrey Schools Summit since 2017, with a goal of collaborating to deliver safe, modern learning environments to students in the district.

“As the largest and fastest-growing school district in the province, we have seen our student population steadily increasing every year,” said Laurie Larsen, chair, Surrey Board of Education. “We currently have over 74,000 students, and we’re projecting an additional 1,000 students for the next school year. This type of growth requires strong partnerships – with all levels of government. I am so proud of the collaborative relationship we have with the Ministry of Education and the City of Surrey. Together, we are addressing the growth our community is experiencing and finding sustainable solutions that work for parents and students.”

Since September 2017, the Province has approved more than $475 million into new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and land purchases for future schools in Surrey, supporting the creation of about 9,500 new student seats in the district by 2025, and eliminating the need for 380 portables.

Families in Surrey are seeing the results of this investment, with seven new schools and 14 new additions opened since 2018. This includes the new 1,500-seat Grandview Heights Secondary school that opened in September, as well as the new Edgewood, Maddaugh and Douglas elementary schools that opened in 2020-21.

Since these schools opened, for the first time in recent memory the Surrey School District did not need to purchase new portables to manage enrolment growth.

“Surrey continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, and many young families are choosing to raise their families here,” said Doug McCallum, mayor of Surrey. “That’s why the council and I have advocated that Surrey’s school infrastructure keep pace to ensure children are able to learn in a proper classroom. I would like to thank the Province for the investments made in Surrey. It is clearly paying off, as a single new portable has not been purchased for Surrey public schools since before the 2020-21 school year.”

As enrolment continues to grow rapidly in Surrey, the Province has supported three more school expansion projects, and ministry staff are working with the district to move them forward. In addition, six new or expanded schools are under construction.

The Government of B.C. is committed to investing in schools to give students the best possible learning environments. Since September 2017, the Province has invested more than $2.5 billion in major school construction projects and land purchases.

To continue this momentum, Budget 2021 included $3.5 billion for investments in school infrastructure.  

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