An expansion to Lynn Valley Elementary school that will add six classrooms and space for 145 more students has been approved by the province.
The $9-million project, which has been near the top of the North Vancouver School District’s priority list for several years, will allow the school to eliminate the use of four portables currently providing temporary classroom space at the school.
Jennifer Whiteside, B.C.’s minister of education, made the funding announcement Monday morning.
Lynn Valley Elementary currently has an official capacity of 295 students (not counting the portables) but an enrolment of 375 students.
Enrolment is project to grow to over 400 students by 2031. After the expansion, the school will have a capacity of 440 students, according to the school district.
It's still expected to take over three years for the expansion to be completed.
Design for the school expansion is scheduled for completion in April 2024 with construction set to wrap in January 2026 and students able to move into the new classrooms by March 2026, according to the school district.
Kulvir Mann, chair of North Vancouver School District’s board of education, applauded the announcement, calling it “wonderful news for the community.”
Every year, school districts submit capital plans to the province, prioritizing a wish list of new schools, replacements and expansion projects. The province then reviews those lists when deciding which projects to fund.
The school district is still waiting for approvals from the province on plans to build a new elementary school in another part of the school district. Two and a half years ago, plans to build a new school at the Cloverley school site was one of only seven in the province short-listed for more intensive evaluation by the Ministry of Education.
But since then, large escalations in project costs have resulted in the ministry taking another look.
The plan to build a new school at the site of the old Cloverley Elementary at the corner of Cloverley Street and Hendry Avenue would take enrolment pressures off neighbouring schools. The plan has been on the school district’s wish list for the past four years.
Five years ago, cost estimates to build a new school were slightly less than $22 million. But more recent estimates of costs to replace other elementary schools in North Vancouver have ranged from $43 million to $48 million.
Lynn Valley Elementary was rebuilt in 2004 at a cost of about $4.3 million.
The school district has also asked the Ministry of Education for approval to build another $43-million elementary school for 465 students in Lower Lonsdale. That school would require the province to buy land for the school as well, at an estimated ballpark cost of $58 million.