BC government announcement on Burke Mountain school: no full approval but moves expensive school to next phase
One of BC’s costliest schools has passed a major construction hurdle.
But will it be built soon enough for the Coquitlam families living in Burke Mountain?
Today (August 10), the provincial government announced that it has approved a concept plan for a proposed $ 125 million joint middle / high school for 1,000 students in the growing neighborhood.
However, there are still several steps to be taken before the building with turf and track can be approved and constructed.
Ideally, the school would open in 2024, but Fin Donnelly hopes to see an opening date set in stone soon.
“It is forever promised and it is so necessary for Coquitlam and Burke Mountain that students go to school locally in the community where they live,” said the MP for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.
Donnelly added that the concept plan is an important phase of a two-step process to get Treasury Board approval.
This means that the Coquitlam School District (SD43) has the support of the province to develop a business case, which will finalize the details of the new school, such as scope, schedule and budget.
If the file is approved – and capital funding is provided – the project will move on to design and then construction.
Parents have long been clamoring for schools in Burke Mountain, organizing a rally last spring and creating a petition to garner support for the project.
“That’s why a lot of us voted NDP,” said parent Isabel Silvestre, co-founder of the Burke Mountain Parents school group, in March when a rally was held and a 1,000-name petition was raised. published online.
Donnelly acknowledges that the Prime Minister promised the building in the last provincial election and he is keeping his word that it will be built.
“This is my top priority at Burke Mountain as the Premier and I promised this school would be built,” said Donnelly.
Still, the process is time consuming, proving difficult for the board of education, which wanted the school to open in 2023 and considered spending $ 1 million on the design process to speed up its construction.
This plan has been put on hold pending more concrete approvals from the province.
Now parents have to wait for the cogs of the bureaucracy to move and approvals to be obtained.
While Donnelly is optimistic the project will be approved in a timely manner, he acknowledged that construction costs are high.
Due to the site’s steep slopes, the project to be built jointly by the District and the City of Coquitlam, costs have dropped from $ 70 million to approximately $ 125 million.
“It is the most expensive school province in the history of the province; the department has to do it right, this is important for taxpayers and education in the community.
In a press release, Board Chair Kerri Palmer Isaak welcomed the news of the concept plan approval.
“The school board appreciates the overwhelming support of families in the Burke Mountain neighborhood in their tireless efforts and the support of the Coquitlam School District in opening a middle school,” said Kerri Palmer Isaak, board chair, SD43.
“It is exciting for the project to take one more step towards achievement for the many students in this growing region.”
SD43’s concept plan for the new middle school proposes a 1,000-student facility to be built on the school district’s property in the Lower Hyde Creek Village neighborhood.
The site is to be developed by the district and the city.
Through a memorandum of understanding, Coquitlam committed to provide exterior amenities on the adjacent site, including a grass field and a track.
The province has also invested $ 52.3 million to build a new primary school in Sheffield – which is expected to open in the summer of 2022 – and is expected to have places for 430 students, among the 1,035 new places funded by the province in less than four years throughout SD43.