From a provincial government news release:
A land purchase will lay the groundwork for a future school for hundreds of students in one of British Columbia’s fastest growing communities.
Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, announced that the Province is providing the Chilliwack School District with up to $10 million to purchase part of the former Chilliwack North campus of the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) for the site of a new school. The purchase is the result of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and UFV working in partnership to meet the growing needs of the Chilliwack School District.
“With the purchase of this land and buildings, students in the growing Chilliwack School District will have a great new place to learn,” Fleming said. “Converting this former university space into a new school is not only good news for families in Chilliwack, it’s also a smart investment in a fast-growing school district.”
The site has been mostly unoccupied since UFV moved most of its programs to its new location at Canada Education Park in 2012. Vacant sites of a suitable size for a school are difficult to locate in the Chilliwack area. Most larger parcels of land are typically located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, which does not allow use for schools. The former UFV site has existing education buildings that can be renovated into a school facility.
“After relocating to Canada Education Park and marketing this property, UFV is pleased this land will now be used to answer a clear community need and support the Government of B.C. and the Chilliwack School District in providing education in our region,” said Craig Toews, UFV vice-president, external.
“The Chilliwack Board of Education is delighted with this announcement, which is a priority in our five-year capital plan,” said Dan Coulter, Chilliwack Board of Education chair. “We are a growing district and in need of more instructional spaces, and this purchase will help alleviate some of the space challenges. This is great news for our community and students, and I want to thank the Ministry of Education for making this purchase a reality.”
Government is committed to investing in fast-growing school districts like Chilliwack. In September 2018, the ministry announced a new 930-seat K-8 school in south Chilliwack worth $53.6 million. That school’s construction is scheduled to begin next fall, with doors opening to students September 2022.
- Government is committed to working with partners to build new schools and upgrade existing ones in every region of the province, announcing more than $921 million in school capital projects since September 2017.
- The Chilliwack School District is operating at 106% capacity with sustained growth expected in the coming decades.
- The $10-million budget covers the purchase of the property and its three existing buildings, one of which includes a cafeteria and performing arts theatre. SD 33 will now start planning how to develop the site.