Construction has started on Vedder elementary school’s 240-seat addition, bringing students closer to learning in new classrooms.
The project was first announced in March 2020, and has a price tag of $11.8 million. It will include 10 new classrooms over two storeys on the west side of the school, as well as new parking spaces. The addition should be ready for use in September 2022.
Vedder elementary is in the middle of a fast-growing neighbourhood, and the district in general is growing quickly, too.
That reality was echoed in a statement made by Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education.
“Creating new student seats and getting students out of portables in this fast-growing community is part of our government’s plan to provide the best learning experience possible for B.C. students,” she said.
Willow Reichelt, chair of the Chilliwack Board of Education said they are thrilled to see construction begin.
“This much-needed facility will enable us to move 240 students out of portables and into permanent learning spaces. We appreciate this investment in our rapidly growing district,” she said.
Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter, and a former Chilliwack school trustee, also weighed in.
“Our government has made it a top priority from the start to address urgent enrolment needs for schools throughout B.C., just like Vedder Elementary,” he said. “We’re proud to see multiple school projects currently under construction in Chilliwack. I can’t wait to visit students and staff in their new learning spaces when they’re all complete in the near future.”
The Ministry of Education sent out a press release Monday, marking the beginning of construction at the site. In it, they listed the projects currently underway in the city that will help reduce the number of portables needed here.
The province has announced $115 million for Chilliwack school expansion projects in the last four years, adding 2,220 new student seats. This will eliminate the need to purchase nearly 100 more portables in the district, by ministry estimates.
They list the following projects in addition to Vedder elementary:
• Construction on the new $15.4-million, 600-seat Imagine High Integrated Arts and Technology Secondary school at the former University of the Fraser Valley North campus was announced in September 2018. It is currently on track and set to open for students in September 2021.
• The province recently announced $48.6 million to build a new 930-seat K-8 school in south Chilliwack named Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt. Construction on the new school began in October 2019 and is expected to be complete for September 2022. The Chilliwack School District is also contributing $5 million towards the project. In February 2021, the City of Chilliwack announced a $3.75-million investment towards a new turf field for the school.
• In July 2020, the Province announced $23.9 million to increase the capacity of GW Graham Secondary to 1,400 seats. Construction at GW Graham is expected to begin this spring and be ready for students by September 2022.
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