Loading articles...

Province announces New Westminster Secondary School replacement

Last Updated Jun 7, 2016 at 5:17 pm PDT

(Source: Google Maps)

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – New Westminster is getting a new secondary school to replace the existing one.

The provincial government says 2,100 students from Grade 9 through 12 will move in to a new building adjacent to the original New Westminster Secondary School in 2019.

The cost of the school replacement is $106.5 million. Construction is set to begin in 2017.

It’s being called the ‘largest school capital project’ in BC history.

The province admits the existing school, which was built back in 1949, is in poor condition and is has a high seismic risk. It says the replacement school will meet today’s standards for safety, accessibility and modern learning, and will also accommodate enrolment growth and possible expansions.

“The new school that is going to be built is going to mean opportunities,” says BC Education Minister Mike Bernier. “A state of the art school for up to 2,100 students from New West and around the area that will be able to attend.”

The existing school was built on land that was once used as a burial ground, public works yard and staging area for military during World War II. The province says the new building will be on land outside the burial areas.

Parents in New Westminster have been calling for this announcement for years and recently held a large rally outside the school.

Danielle Connolly organized a rally earlier this year calling for a replacement for the building. She noted several serious problems with the building.

“There has been asbestos issues in the school, it’s contaminated with rats and mice, when they repainted it there was lead in the paint and seismically it’s not up to standards, it’s nowhere near.”

“This project actually gives us an opportunity not only to replace the high school but to correct some of the wrongs a generation ago in terms of building the original school over the burial site,” says New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote. “I think the province and the school board are going to have to be very sensitive to those issues but I really see it as an opportunity to address the wrongs of the past and properly create a memorial on the site as opposed to what we currently have today.”