375 student spaces coming to Burnaby in 2024

The Kitchener Elementary School expansion will take less than half the time of a regular school build and will cost $22.5M

Parents in North Burnaby can look forward to 375 new spaces at Kitchener Elementary School by the start of the next school year. Rachna Singh, BC minister of education and child care, announced the latest expansion to Kitchener Elementary School on Mon. Dec. 4 at an event on school premises. 

Janet Routledge, the MLA for Burnaby North, hosted the event which started with a land acknowledgment by three schoolchildren. The children thanked the Coast Salish Nations of Musqueam, Tsleil Waututh, and Squamish. “I benefit from this land by being able to exercise and have a healthy life. I am thankful to be living on a land as natural, beautiful, and safe as British Columbia,” they said.  

Children at Kitchener Elementary School singing at the event. Photo: Dana Bales, Burnaby School District

Tsleil Waututh Elder Les George welcomed attendees with a song, after which a group of schoolchildren performed “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens. Rachna Singh, minister of education and child care, took the podium and addressed the audience. 

“Over the past two and half years, we have seen record population growth in our communities, with more than 360,000 people moving to BC, and of course, many of these people are children and their families. Our government is committed to helping fast-growing school districts like Burnaby meet the needs of all our students and their families,” Singh said. 

“We are pleased to announce we are supporting our new school addition here at the Kitchener Elementary School that will deliver 375 more student spaces and 15 classrooms as early as the next school year. With provincial funding of $22.5 million and construction taking half the time of a traditional school build,” she added. 

Minister of Education and Child Care, Rachna Singh. Photo: Dana Bales, Burnaby School District

The construction time will be shortened as the construction is a custom-made prefabricated expansion. 

Routledge spoke about the urgent need for spaces for more students in Burnaby schools. “I’ve heard from parents, school staff, and community members ‘what a crisis we’re in, in terms of having enough spaces.’ I’m just so happy that we’re able to respond in a way that thinks outside the box and helps us address the crisis and avert an even bigger crisis in a much faster way.” 

Bill Brassington, chair of the Burnaby School Board, spoke about the school’s history, saying that Kitchener Elementary has a history of nearly 100 years in North Burnaby and was built to accommodate the children of newcomers. He added that North Burnaby is one of the fastest-growing areas in the city and has experienced exponential growth in recent years. 

“In 2022, Kitchener Elementary was sitting at 98% capacity; if we fast forward to 2031, it would be at 207% capacity, a forecast of more than double the capacity in 8 years,” he said. “All this is to say that the building addition announced today is absolutely needed, most welcome, exciting, and an important investment. Ensuring children have appropriate and safe spaces to learn is a priority that this board shares with the Ministry of Education and Child Care.”  

Brassington also thanked the Ministry of Education and Child Care for including Burnaby in the first wave of prefabricated projects and said he hoped the school would be ready by the start of the 2024 school year. 

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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