NEWS RELEASE · 14th June 2010
Ministry of Education
An investment of more than $144 million and a new, six-step action plan will provide the 665 new classrooms needed to accommodate full-day kindergarten in September 2011, Premier Gordon Campbell and Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid announced today.
"Research shows that a high quality, play based kindergarten program develops the academic and social skills that help children succeed in school and in life," said Premier Campbell. "These new facilities will help us meet our commitment to provide full-day kindergarten for five year olds to support children and working families."
The six-step action plan has been put in place to guide the delivery of classroom space for the approximately 40,000 students expected to enter full- day kindergarten in 2011. The six steps include:
* 133 newly designed modular classrooms.
* New classroom space created by: o A new school in Langley o New school space within the Enerplex in Fort St. John.
* Additions to 21 schools in the Lower Mainland, Capital Regional District, Campbell River and Central Okanagan.
* Renovations to the resource centre next to Cataline Elementary school in Williams Lake.
* The re-opening of Anne McClymont Primary in Kelowna.
* Approximately $10 million to furnish and equip classrooms, including the conversion of existing surplus classrooms to full-day kindergarten.
"This critical investment in early learning is an investment in our province's future - our children," said MacDiarmid. "In doing so, we are serious about finding efficiencies in every part of the education sector, which is why we have issued a proposal call for the modular construction project on behalf of districts to bulk purchase and reduce costs."
A request for proposals for the construction of the modular classrooms was issued today. A centralized procurement and construction process will ensure cost efficiency and a common, high-quality standard for each new modular.
The $144.5-million capital investment is being provided in addition to B.C.'s three-year, $280-million commitment to implement full-day kindergarten for all eligible children by September 2011. Full-day kindergarten will be available for up to 50 per cent of kindergarten students in 2010 and for every five- year-old starting school in 2011.
Since 2001, the Province has spent more than $1.7 billion to complete 80 new and replacement schools, 148 additions, 26 renovation projects and 22 site acquisitions across B.C. All new and replacement schools have been constructed to meet the latest seismic standards. By the end of 2009-10, the Province will have committed more than $3.8 billion in school capital and maintenance projects across the province. As outlined by Premier Campbell, all new school construction projects will include B.C. wood in their construction whenever possible.