Vedder elementary will grow by 10 classrooms and two large multipurpose rooms by September 2022.
The 1,250-square metre addition will be enough to hold two new kindergarten classes plus 200 students. The school is already at 125 per cent capacity. And with condo construction booming in the immediate neighbourhood, demand for student space is already on the rise.
The blueprints and artist renderings for the expansion project were shown and discussed at the Dec. 8 Chilliwack school board meeting. The discussion included how the school district has been working with the city on creating cohesion between the growth in the area and the school.
A new, pedestrian-controlled crosswalk for Promontory Road near the school is one of the results of that partnership.
Students and parents are known to walk or run from the parking lots across Promontory Road to the school and back at pickup and dropoff times. The district is hiring a crossing guard for the new crosswalk, to help everyone get used to the new safety feature.
One of the reasons for the jaywalking is the lack of parking lot space at Vedder elementary. The configuration of the bus lanes is being adapted to clean up traffic issues, and the new addition will include fresh new parking spaces at the west end of the school.
The school will also potentially have a smaller catchment area in a few years. The opening of the district’s newest school, Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt, will mean a boundary adjustment for the Sardis/Garrison area. That elementary and middle school is set to open September 2022, at the southernmost end of Tyson Road along the Vedder River.
That’s when the expansion at Vedder elementary is scheduled to be ready for students.
It’s hard to forecast just how many new families will move into the area between now and then, but the amount of new home construction in the immediate area suggests growth is unavoidable.
So, Vedder elementary’s expansion includes “future proofing” specifications that will allow the district to expand even more down the road. They’ve planned out where the footprint of the school can grow without affecting play areas too much. The same future planning is a key component of nearby G.W. Graham’s expansion.
One of those features are the oversized multipurpose rooms. Each room has been designed so it could potentially have a wall added to divide it, providing two additional classrooms in a pinch.
The Chilliwack school district is one of the fastest growing districts in the province, with almost 100 portables in use to handle the overflow. Since then, several capital projects have been announced to accommodate students, including the Vedder elementary and G.W. Graham additions, Stitó:s Lá:lém Totí:lt, and Imagine High Integrated Tech and Arts Secondary. Imagine High will be the first new space to come online, in September 2021. Registration is open and space is available.
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