The Surrey school district will have 1,840 new student spaces by next spring.
The $59-million projects include the construction of three schools and two high school additions.
District spokesperson Doug Strachan said the projects will help alleviate overcrowding in a number of schools.
"We are still playing catch up in the key high growth areas of the city, which is the Clayton area and the Grandview area," Strachan said.
"Certainly these schools are helping a great deal and they'll reduce the number of portables we have at the schools that are in the neighbourhood of the new schools."
There were 265 portables used at Surrey schools last year.
"It certainly goes a long way. That's more than 1,800 more students accommodated. But we continue to still have some catch up in those high growth areas and we continue to grow," Strachan said.
The projects include the construction of Sunnyside, Goldstone Park and Katzie elementaries, as well as additions to Fraser Heights and Panorama Ridge secondary schools.
Sunnyside Elementary, which replaces the old Sunnyside, will have 450 spaces, 180 more than its predecessor. The school will open its doors this September.
Goldstone Park Elementary, located in South Newton, is expected to alleviate overcrowding at neighbouring Cambridge Elementary, which has 16 portables. Goldstone will provide 555 new student spaces.
Katzie Elementary, located in the Clayton area, is expected to alleviate overcrowding at neighbouring Hazelgrove Elementary. Hazelgrove opened a few years ago with portables on its grounds and currently has 19 portables. Katzie will provide 605 new student spaces.
And additions to Fraser Heights and Panorama Ridge secondary schools will provide 500 new spaces.
Strachan said the district plans to have students in the new schools and additions after spring break next year.
"They could be ready for occupancy as early as January, but we usually co-ordinate the occupancy during spring break," he said.
Funding has been approved for another new school, a high school in Clayton, which is expected to alleviate overcrowding at Lord Tweedsmuir and Clayton Heights secondary schools. Construction is set to begin in 2014.
And the district is waiting for construction funding approval for a new Grandview Heights area secondary on a property it purchased earlier this year. The government funded the site purchase and Strachan said the district hopes to also secure funding for the school's construction.
"That will help Earl Marriot, which is very overcapacity. We're anxious to get that school construction underway," Strachan said.
While the rate of the district's growth fluctuates, it grows almost every year.
The district has grown every year for the last 30 - except last year, where 72 fewer students were enrolled than the year before.
"But by the same token, a few years before that we forecast about 400 new students and ended up with 1,100 new students," Strachan said.
The district currently has about 70,000 students. Thirty new students are projected this year, and 400 or more next year.
"We're falling further behind. But with all these new schools and additions, they are really going to help," Strachan said.
Laurae McNally, Surrey school trustee, said the city is growing out as far as the eye can see.
"It's not boom or bust. It's just plain boom. And we're happy to have all of them," McNally said of the district's growth.
"We have 1,000 new people a month moving into Surrey. Thirty per cent of those are under the age of 19. You just need to drive around Surrey and you'll see strollers everywhere and houses under construction. We will be knocking on the government's door for facilities for years to come," she said.
McNally said the planning department has made conservative forecasts in terms of enrollment. One principal told her he already has eight more students than projected.
"We never know until their smiling faces show up the first day of school. And in future years the enrollment growth is expected to pick up even more," McNally said.
The $100 million the province gave the district nearly two years ago has been put to good use, but that doesn't clear away the backlog, she said.
"We certainly do have more needs and will have for the foreseeable future."
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