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Surrey makes room for more students

SURREY(NEWS1130) – The Surrey School District has spent close to $60-million, adding over 1,800 new spots for elementary and high school students.

Doug Strachan with the district feels they’ve taken a unique approach to get ahead of the game in building new schools.

“In order to speed things up, the board, earlier in the year invested about $5-million in getting school design work done so we were ready to go when we had the funding announced.”

He argues the design phase takes up precious time and by having plans ready to go they can break ground sooner than other districts.

Strachan says Surrey is the only school district to employ the plan of designing schools ahead of funding, adding the province will pay back the board any money spent on early designs.

He admits students and staff have been waiting for these spaces for sometime.

“Whether it’s using portables or time tabling to accommodate more students, it’s certainly not the ideal situation. The parents, students and staff have been very patient. We’re getting to the point where there’s relief on the way.”

The projects include the construction of Goldstone Park, Sunnyside elementary and Katzie elementary, as well as additions to Fraser Heights and Panorama Ridge secondary schools.

The additions to Fraser Heights and Panorama Ridge secondary schools will provide about  500 new spaces.

Strachan says Surrey expects to add close to 400 new students in 2014.

Approximately 70,000 students are currently enrolled in Surrey’s school system.