British Columbia

New secondary school opens in South Surrey, the first in almost 30 years

School officials and B.C.'s Ministry of Education celebrated the official grand opening of Grandview Heights Secondary, the first secondary school to be built in South Surrey in more than 20 years.

Grandview Heights Secondary is part of a goal to create about 9,500 new student spaces by 2025

Surrey school officials and B.C.'s Ministry of Education have celebrated the official grand opening of Grandview Heights Secondary School. It's the first high school to be built in South Surrey since 1993. (CBC News)

School officials in Surrey and B.C.'s Ministry of Education celebrated the official grand opening of the first secondary school to be built in South Surrey in almost 30 years.

Grandview Heights Secondary, which has been open since September 2021, has 60 classrooms and can accommodate about 1,500 students and 60 staff. It's the first high school to be built in the area since Elgin Park Secondary opened in 1993.

The school is among about a dozen others slated to be built, expanded or seismically upgraded in the next few years, with funding of more than $475 million from the ministry since 2017.

The goal is for the municipality, ministry and the Surrey School District to collaborate on the creation of about 9,500 new student spaces by 2025, while eliminating the need for 380 portable classrooms.

"I know students have been here learning and are already experiencing the great benefits of this modern school," said B.C. Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside at the opening ceremony.

"It's an $82-million investment from the Ministry of Education and ... in Surrey, we are building new schools, we are expanding and upgrading schools ... to ensure students and youth can learn in schools right in their own neighbourhood."

The new school in South Surrey is part of a 2017 promise from the ministry to help create space for about 9,500 new students in the Surrey school district by 2025. (CBC News)

She said since the opening of Grandview Heights, five portable classrooms — which helped alleviate longstanding overcrowding — at Earl Marriott Secondary and Semiahmoo Secondary were taken down.

"We currently have over 74,000 students and we're projecting an additional 1,000 students for the next school year," Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen said in a written statement Tuesday.

"This type of growth requires strong partnerships — with all levels of government."

Since 2017, seven new schools and 14 additions to student spaces opened in the district, while six more schools and school expansions are under construction.

"I would like to thank the province for their investments made in Surrey. It is clearly paying off, as a single new portable [classroom] has not been purchased since before the 2020-21 school year," Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said.

Funding needed to proceed 

Surrey School District Superintendent Jordan Tinney says while the opening of Grandview Heights Secondary is certainly a step in the right direction, more funding is needed to accommodate the rapidly growing enrolment rate in Surrey, one of B.C's fastest-growing communities.

"I think it provides huge relief for the community because ... Earl Marriott Secondary has been one of our most over-capacity schools for years and years," Tinney told CBC News.

The 60-classroom, three-storey secondary school can accommodate about 1,500 students and 60 staff. (CBC News)

"But one of the key challenges for the district is that ... the ministry currently has policy for new buildings where the school district needs to contribute up to 20 per cent of the total cost."

That amounts to $15 million for the next three projects, Tinney says.

"The issue of contribution is a big deal for our board and will remain a big deal for us. As far as the next projects go, our board have been told that the project won't proceed unless we find $15 million."


CBC British Columbia has launched a Surrey pop-up bureau to help tell your stories with reporter Kiran Singh. Story ideas and tips can be sent to kiran.singh@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now