A rendering of South Albion Elementary school presented by architects to the school board.

A rendering of South Albion Elementary school presented by architects to the school board.

Two new elementary school sites needed

Maple Ridge councillors question the pace of school construction

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is going to need to acquire two new school sites, one in east Albion and the other in Silver Valley, and build two elementary schools over the next 10 years.

The school district sent its school sites proposal to Maple Ridge council, and on Tuesday it approved the plan.

It included a report estimating the number of eligible school age children which will be generated by residential growth. It found there will be 7,200 new residential units constructed in the district from 2019 to 2028, and they will be home to 1,650 school aged children.

The district is looking at acquiring 6.66 hectares (16.5 acres) of land between the two sites, at a combined cost of $18.4 million.

These new schools will be in addition to the new school being built on 104th Avenue to serve Albion area.

Coun. Gordy Robson noted the pace of school building has not been keeping up with the growth of residential neighbourhoods.

“All of us are probably frustrated in the fact that four years ago we were asked this question, and we said to proceed with Albion as fast as we can, and we still haven’t broken ground,” said Robson.

The city and school board have partnered in the new school building and community hall at 104th Avenue.

Mayor Nicole Read noted there is a great deal of residential development slated for the Silver Valley area, and while the Albion neighbourhood is getting a new elementary school, nothing is imminent in the northeast of the city.

“I can see Silver Valley raising questions about this,” said Read.

School district spokesperson Irena Pochop noted the purchase of land in Silver Valley is included in the district’s five-year capital plan, but the building of the school is not, because it is not yet supported by enrolment in the area. She noted the district expanded Yennadon elementary last year, by adding a kindergarten annex, that will accommodate another 80 students in the combined facility.