An artist's rendering of the new White Rock Christian Academy.

An artist's rendering of the new White Rock Christian Academy.

White Rock Christian Academy to build new school

Ground to break on $13.8-million Phase 1 Monday morning at South Surrey property.

White Rock Christian Academy’s long quest for a new school is finally complete, with the construction of a school campus set to officially break ground next week.

At 10:45 a.m. Monday, at the school’s South Surrey location (2265 152 St.), school officials and other dignitaries will, according to a news release, officially mark the “culmination of many years of difficult work and careful planning to secure a permanent location” for the small Christian school, which will serve students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

The expansive project – which will see the current school replaced entirely – will be built in three phases. Phase 1 – which will be kicked off by Monday’s ceremony – will include an underground parking facility, with two floors of classrooms, music rooms and fine-arts rooms built atop it.

Phase 1 is expected to be complete by September 2018, and will cost an estimated $13.8 million.

The facility will be built at the rear of the school’s property, thus allowing students to continue attending classes in the current school.

Eventually, as phases are complete, students will be shifted into the new building, said David Michel, WRCA’s head of school.

“It will be a bit of a distraction, but it will all be worth it,” Michel told Peace Arch News Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s an exciting project, an exciting time. For us, a new building is desperately needed.”

A new school has been discussed at WRCA for much of the past decade, if not longer. Many solutions have been floated over the years – including moving to various Semiahmoo Peninsula locations – but Michel was pleased the school’s board members chose the option to build on the current site.

“It’s a real quality building.”

When WRCA was formed 35 years ago, Michel noted, it was never meant for more than “about 150 students.”

The school currently has a student population of more than 460, many of whom attend classes in 16 portables on site.

“White Rock Christian Academy was built by members of the church who just wanted a school for their children,” Michel explained. “It was never intended for this many students, so this isn’t a ‘build-it-and-they-will-come model. We are definitely over-capacity.”