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New Westminster school district looks to buy new land

It’s early days yet, but New Westminster might one day have a ninth elementary school if the school district can find suitable land for the project.
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After a flurry of discussion, New Westminster school trustees voted four to three to approve a motion to send a letter to the Ministry of Education urging the minister to hold byelections in Vancouver and North Okanagan-Shuswap.

It’s early days yet, but New Westminster might one day have a ninth elementary school if the school district can find suitable land for the project.

On Tuesday, at the board of education’s final meeting of the school year, interim secretary-treasurer Teri Stoneman announced the district is in the beginning stages of a site acquisition process – part of the district’s updated five-year capital plan.

The land would be used for a new elementary school that, once built, would be a fifth feeder school to Fraser River Middle School, according to the district.

“It’s a site acquisition in the Fraser River catchment area, where we see our new growth and new population coming in, and so it’s preparing to meet that demand in the future,” she said at the meeting.

The district estimates the project in its entirety would cost $50 million, with $25 million set aside for the land purchase.

There are currently four elementary schools that feed into Fraser River Middle School, including Lord Kelvin Elementary, École Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary, Connaught Elementary and École Qayqayt Elementary.

QE is the number 1 priority

The five-year capital plan also includes some good news for kids in Queensborough.

At the top of the district’s wish list is a 12-classroom addition to Queen Elizabeth Elementary School. The project would also include a new gym and 15 per cent neighbourhood learning centre space.

“Obviously that school and that area has seen some significant growth,” Stoneman said.

The district estimates the addition would cost $18 million.

Enrolment at Queen Elizabeth Elementary has seen a spike in recent years, with the student population expected to surpass 450 this coming fall. To mitigate the situation, Grade 5 students were moved to Queensborough Middle School several years ago, and a number of portables were installed at the site.

Two additional portables are set to open in time for the 2018/19 school year. By September, there will be a total of seven portables and two modular buildings at Queen Elizabeth Elementary.


Highlights from SD40’s five-year capital plan:

Hume Park Elementary: seismic mitigation upgrade, $500,000

École Glenbrook Middle School: replace rooftop gas-fired airhandlers, $828,00

Lord Kelvin Elementary school: replace boilers and gas-fired furnaces, $1.4 million; new playground, $90,000

École Herbert Spencer Elementary School: replace old flooring, $170,000; replace boiler, $350,000

École Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary: new accessible playground, $105,000

Richard McBride Elementary: new playground, $90,000

Queen Elizabeth Elementary: new playground, $90,000

FW Howay Elementary: new playground, $90,000

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