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$6M modular classroom expansion coming to North Van's Westview Elementary

The prefab addition will create space for 100 more students at the North Vancouver school

North Vancouver’s Westview Elementary School will be getting a $6 million modular classroom addition, the province has announced.

Minister of Education Rachna Singh was in North Vancouver Friday to make the announcement.

The new modular will have space for four additional classrooms, making room for 100 more students at the school.

The school, which was rebuilt in 2008, is currently over capacity, with enrolment of 286 – 62 students more than the school’s official capacity of 224.

Two portables are scheduled to be installed at the school this summer, with the modular classroom expected to be ready by the fall of 2025.

Linda Munro, chair of the North Vancouver Board of Education, said like many other school districts in Metro Vancouver, “our school district has witnessed an unprecedented number of new student enrolments since September.”

Enrolment in North Vancouver was higher than expected by almost 280 students at the start of the school year and has grown by over 250 students since then, said Munro.

Most of that enrolment growth has been driven by immigration, and much of it has been concentrated in the City of North Vancouver.

The announcement Friday in North Vancouver is part of a trend which has seen the government opt to build modular classroom additions, rather than traditional school expansions, as a faster and cheaper way to increase classroom space.

“Traditionally, both classrooms and new schools can take years to complete. That is why we are making sure that we can build a classroom so much faster in communities that are growing the most throughout the province,” said Singh.

Singh said with prefab construction, the time to build is cut in half.

Prefabricated additions aren’t the same as portables. They have unique design and can be located on site as stand-alone classrooms or connected to existing school buildings.

Unlike portables, most prefab classrooms include washrooms and ventilation systems. Many are designed with multiple classrooms, corridors and lockers. Prefabricated additions are permanent structures, with an expected lifespan of 30 to 50 years, according to the province.

Other school districts where modular classrooms have been announced include Kelowna, Langley, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langford, Colwood and Dawson Creek.

Other school projects currently underway in North Vancouver include a $9 million 144-space expansion of Lynn Valley Elementary and construction of a new $64 million Cloverley Elementary, with space for 585 students.

Still on the school district’s wish list is another new school in the Lower Lonsdale area.

A number of schools are also on the district’s capital wish list for expansions.