The Surrey School District is expecting to enroll between 1,000 and 1,200 new students for the 2019/2020 school year.
In total, the district’s projected enrolment is 74,700 students.
In the 2018/2019 school year, the district surpassed its projected enrolment.
“Just for perspective, one year of growth in our school district is the equivalent to the population of a secondary school, or a couple of elementary schools,” said Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen in a release from the district.
“Schools take at least two to three years to plan and build, so it’s difficult, but we’ve worked hard with the Ministry of Education to speed up the process.”
The Now-Leader previously asked Minister of Education Rob Fleming how the ministry plans to get ahead of the overcrowding issue, and he said, “You have to build another high school; 1,700 is a very large high school and you can’t keep adding and going into 2,000 (students) and beyond.”
Fleming said there are plans to build another high school, “and we’ll probably have to do that every five to seven years.”
“We’re certainly going to have to build a number of elementary schools. We’re doing that now. We have five under development or under construction. Additions are possible and are part of the new spaces that we’re planning to create.”
Within the district, there are multiple sites that are currently under construction for additions and new schools.
This fall, Newton’s Panorama Park Elementary addition will be completed which will add 200 student seats. According to the district, it will be ready in October.
South Surrey’s Pacific Heights Elementary’s 300-seat addition is scheduled to be completed by the spring.
There are also four brand-new schools in various stages of construction: Maddaugh Road Elementary in Clayton; and in South Surrey, the Edgewood Drive area and Douglas area elementary schools and Grandview Heights Secondary school.
All are expected to be ready for students by 2021.
Expansions are also underway at Coyote Creek, Frost Road and Sullivan elementary schools, which are all scheduled to open in 2020. The 700-seat addition at Sullivan Heights is already underway, with expected occupancy in September of 2021.
Construction of Clayton’s Regent Road Elementary is expected to start this year.
According to the district, at least 5,500 new student spaces are expected to open by fall of 2021.
The district’s portable count for the 2019/2020 school year is 361, up 28 from last year.
The release also says the district has budgeted to hire 78 addition teachers, five principals and vice-principals, 107 educational assistants and 19 support staff members.