Ministry of Education News Release: July 20th, 2020
Students and families on the Sunshine Coast are closer to having six new classrooms at West Sechelt Elementary school, along with a new child care facility, as construction is underway.
“No matter where they live, B.C. students deserve to learn in positive, engaging classrooms,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Children and families throughout the province are seeing the results of our work to provide better learning environments where they’re needed and I’m excited to see that happening at West Sechelt Elementary, so students can soon say goodbye to portables.”
The Government of B.C. is providing $10.7 million for the 145-seat, six-classroom addition at West Sechelt Elementary, which also includes a new, 28-space child care facility at an on-site neighbourhood learning centre.
“Our government is making this investment to make sure more children in this community can learn in positive learning environments for years to come, and it’s good to see that work getting underway,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Sunshine Coast.
The Sunshine Coast School District is providing an additional $500,000 for the project, which is the first major school construction project in the district since 2014.
“We are so grateful for the Ministry of Education’s ongoing support and commitment of excellence to our students, staff and community,” said Pammila Ruth, chair, Sunshine Coast Board of Education. “As we celebrate the start of construction of the West Sechelt Elementary expansion, I am moved by the lasting impact this will have in serving the needs of many families in our community.”
With work beginning, the new classrooms and child care facility are expected to be complete in 2021 and will eliminate the need for portables on site.
“We are excited to see our school grow and allow better learning environments for all students,” said Aspen Wing, chair, West Sechelt Elementary parent advisory council. “This next chapter is a welcome change to our school and community.”
The investment in a classroom addition and child care facility at West Sechelt Elementary is part of government’s plan to build new and expanded schools in fast-growing communities throughout B.C.
“For too long, finding quality, affordable child care close to home has been a struggle for families,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “Co-locating these new child care spaces on school grounds is convenient for parents at drop-off and pick-up times, and even more importantly, it helps children have a smoother transition into the school system, setting them on the path to lifelong learning.”
Since September 2017, the Province has announced over $735 million to add nearly 13,000 new student seats to give students a more positive learning experience.
To continue this momentum, Budget 2020 includes $2.8 billion for school capital projects including new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and replacements, and land purchases for future schools.
Ministry of Education
Government Communications and Public Engagement
West Sechelt Elementary School Expansion Project: Progress Report July 2020
The Province and Ministry of Education have approved the expansion of West Sechelt Elementary School. The plans for the expansion have proceeded as scheduled. Unfortunately we have not been able to have a public information meeting; therefore, we are providing this update on the progress.
The Architect and the Engineers have developed the design for the project which includes the following:
- addition of 6 classrooms and multi‐purpose room
- addition of a childcare facility for 12 infant – toddlers and 16 – 3 to 5 year olds
- renovation to improve the special education teaching areas
- addition of a fire sprinkler system throughout the school
- enhanced parking, drop‐off and pick‐up areas
- replacement of the hard surface play areas
- elimination of 5 portable classrooms.
Unitech Construction Management will occupy the site on 20 July. Fencing will be erected around the work site to keep the public a safe distance from the construction activities. The work will be phased to align with school operations.
- The initial phases of construction will be the excavation of soft soil and placement of structural fill to create a level ground surface to support the footings for the
- Construction of the concrete foundations for the addition will proceed as quickly as possible following the site preparations and once the selection of the sub-contractors is completed.
- The modifications to the parking and drop-off and pick-up areas will be in the later phase to align with periods when the school is not in
The Covid-19 health risks are a major consideration in the work plan. The initial phases of work involve small work crews that can work in heavy equipment or open areas where safe distancing can be achieved. Unitech Construction Management will engage a Covid Monitor to oversee the work activity and strictly enforce the established safe work practices. Local workers will be engaged if possible. Visiting trades will be required to follow safe distancing and proper hygiene on and off the job site. Any employee showing signs of an illness will be required to use their vehicle to go home and self-isolate until they are cleared by a doctor to return to work.
Prior to the start of classes Unitech will work closely with the school administration to ensure safe access to the school for students, staff, parents and the public. Emergency exit routes will also be established.
Below are the google image of the existing site which was taken when there were only 2 of the 5 existing portable classrooms on the site and the proposed plan prepared by the architect showing the proposed addition and site enhancements.
The School Board, project team and the school administration are pleased with the support we have received from the District of Sechelt in moving this project forward. We recognize we are operating in a constrained environment and will continue to provide on-line updates as the project progresses. We look forward to the time when we can host a public meeting at the site to engage more fully with the school community, neighbours and general public.
If you would like further information on the School Expansion Project please contact
- Jim Alkins at firstname.lastname@example.org, Project Manager
If you would like further information on School activities please contact
- Jeff Marshall at email@example.com, Principal West Sechelt Elementary School