Children play on a playground at Vedder elementary in 2008. The provincial government announced funding for a 10-classroom expansion for the school on March 3, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

10-classroom expansion announced for Vedder elementary in Chilliwack

Education Minister touts third capital project announced in city in six months

The Ministry of Education announced Tuesday that a 10-classroom addition is coming to Vedder elementary.

The announcement of the $11.8-million, 240-seat addition means students will be out of portables at the Sardis school, hopefully by September 2022.

Education Minister Rob Fleming touted the announcement as the third capital project announced in the Chilliwack school district in the last six months.

Fleming was in Chilliwack in December 2019 to announce $15.4 million for a new 600-seat arts and technology focused high school to be located in the vacant University of the Fraser Valley north campus next door.

He combined that announcement with the promised construction start in January on the $48.6-million elementary-middle school for 930 students next to the Vedder River.

• READ MORE: New arts-technology focused high school coming to Chilliwack for 2021

• READ MORE: Site prep underway for Chilliwack southside school

“Chilliwack is one of the fastest growing communities in British Columbia, which means there is a huge demand for classroom seats,” Fleming said in a Ministry of Education press release. “That’s why this investment – along with recent announcements of two new schools – is so important. We want students to thrive in dynamic, inclusive and safe learning spaces.”

The expansion at Vedder middle will allow for the removal of five in-use portables from the property. The project involves a two-storey addition on the south side of the school, and will allow for more parking.

“This is great news for families in Chilliwack,” said Dan Coulter, chair of the Chilliwack Board of Education. “Thanks to this government’s commitment to investing in schools, our district will be able to get 240 kids out of portables.”

The new addition is expected to be completed in time for the 2022-23 school year.

“The Vedder Elementary Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is thrilled that the creation of more seats and the removal of portables was made a priority at our school, which is bursting at the seams,” said Melanie Reuter, Vedder elementary’s PAC president.

The government has announced more than $91 million for Chilliwack school expansion projects in the last two years, adding 1,770 new student seats, which the Ministry of Education says should eliminate the need for up to 70 of the nearly 100 portables in the district.

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