With new developments predicted to bring about 5,900 students to the Tri-Cities over the next decade, the school district has picked out six sites for possible new schools.
Coquitlam council officially accepted five of those sites – the sixth site is in Port Moody – during the July 17 council meeting.
Based on current prices, the school sites are expected to cover more than 11 hectares and to cost about $192 million.
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With land costs in Coquitlam’s City Centre jumping 32 percent in one year, the school district is considering a multi-storey building arrayed on a 1.2-hectare plot, as opposed to the more typical 2.5-hectare school parcel. A similar design is considered at Fraser Mills.
The district is also mulling three schools in northeast Coquitlam: Riverwalk Elementary, Hazel-Coy Elementary, and Marigold Elementary.
Riverwalk has been designated as a school site for more than 20 years. However, the exact location isn’t set to be determined until the city moves advances neighbourhood planning. More neighbourhood planning is also needed before the timing and location of Hazel-Coy Elementary can be finalized.
Located at 1350 Marigold Elementary, Marigold Elementary has been secured as a school site following a deal between the city, Wesbild development company, and the school district.
The land costs for all three northeast Coquitlam school sites has risen by 25 percent compared to last year.
It’s important city staff keep the school district abreast of where Coquitlam’s population will be concentrated in the future, said Coun. Dennis Marsden.
“We will continue as a council, I expect, to meet alongside the school district and just encourage our province to build these schools quicker,” Marsden said. “I have a dream that one day a school will be built that doesn’t need portables right away.”
Development and demand
The Tri-Cities are slated to add approximately 29,245 new development units over the next decade.
The majority of those new housing units – approximately 19,650 – are slated to be built in Coquitlam. Port Moody is expected to add 6,755 units, with Port Coquitlam slated to add 2,600. Anmore is slated to add 210 units with Belcarra building 30 new units.
A maximum of 35 percent of the land costs for new schools are paid for by a levy placed on each new dwelling unit built in the school district.
The province requires school districts to identify new school sites and for local governments to accept or reject those sites within 60 days of selection.