Clayton Heights will be getting a new high school in the next few years, as announced at a press conference last Friday at Clayton Heights Secondary.
Minister of Education Don McRae announced the acquisition of an 18-acre property in the Clayton North area at 73rd Avenue and 184th Street. The new school will accommodate roughly 1,200 students and help alleviate overpopulation problems at nearby high schools like Clayton Heights and Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
"The Surrey school district, with government support, has purchased the site for this new school earlier this month for the sum of $16.7 million," said McRae, noting that construction of the school is in the planning phase. "If all goes well, we may be able to begin construction later this year with possible completion in 2015 or 2016."
The provincial government contributed $10.5 million toward the cost of acquiring the site while the Surrey school district funded the remaining $6.2 million.
McRae was joined by Mayor Dianne Watts, Coun. Barinder Rasode and MLAs Stephanie Cadieux, Kevin Falcon, Dave Hayer and Gord Hogg, as well as Shawn Wilson, chair of the Surrey school board. Wilson noted the school board is working to get design plans underway.
"We've been living with the pressures on Lord Tweedsmuir and Clayton Heights Secondary to get a high school in that area," he said. "If you look at the rapid growth of new family homes in the area and the density numbers, they really create growth that's hard to keep up with."
Wilson estimated it will cost $34 million to build the new high school, but said he didn't know when construction will begin.
"A school that size, there's a fair amount of construction time," he said. "We can move fast, we always do, but the government has to sign off on a lot of things."
Karishma Ram, a Grade 10 student at Clayton Heights, said a few words on behalf of the student population and how another high school in the area will benefit the neighbourhood.
"To find out that we're getting a new school in our area is very exciting," she said. "I probably won't benefit from this, but I know that the students coming into Clayton Heights in the next few years will."
The provincial government also announced that they, along with the Surrey school district, have invested $35.9 million to acquire three more sites for three future schools in the city. Two will be elementary schools - one in Clayton North, the other in Grandview Heights - and the other will be a secondary school, also in Grandview Heights.
"It's a testament to the staff in Surrey that you're willing to work hard and work outside the box and see if there's opportunities to be aggressive, making sure you're doing best for your residents, your students, your young people and the future of this community," said McRae.