Student Oliver Dyck fist pumps Minister of Education. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

More classrooms on the way for Vernon students

Minister of Education announces 240-seat expansion at BX Elementary

A 240-seat expansion at BX Elementary school will give students a better educational experience and eliminate the need for portables.

“With the growth that Vernon has seen, it is vitally important to make sure students can go to school in positive, engaging environments,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, at a Friday afternoon announcement at the school. “These new seats will ensure we are meeting the needs of students at BX Elementary and providing them with the best opportunities to succeed.”

See: BX Elementary expansion planning proceeds

The Government of B.C. will provide $11.1 million to build the addition, which is expected to be ready for students in September 2021. The Vernon School District will provide $425,000. “This is great news for School District 22,” said District Chairman Robert Lee. “We appreciate the support from the ministry in funding this project. The new expansion at BX Elementary will provides our students and staff with a great place to learn, grow and work.”

BX Elementary has capacity for about 300 students and is operating at 147 per cent capacity. Currently five portables are on site. Without an addition, that number is expected to rise to 12 in the next 10 years.

When the new classrooms are open, the school is expected to operate at 85 per cent capacity. Students will have more space to take advantage of B.C.’s new curriculum, with no need for portables.

See: School district faces capacity challenges

“On behalf of the BX Elementary families, we are very happy to hear today’s announcement,” said Amanda Connor, president, BX PAC. “We have a tight-knit school community that is inclusive of all students, teachers and staff, and it will be great for all of our students to be under one roof, passing each other in the halls.”

This project will be the first school expansion to be completed in the Vernon School District since 2003-04.

Construction is expected to begin on the new addition in Spring 2020. Students will be able to remain in the school while work is underway.

BX Elementary school was first built in 1961, with additions in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1980.

BX stands for Barnard’s Express, later British Columbia Express, a pioneer transportation company that served the Cariboo and Fraser-Fort George regions from 1861 until 1921.

For more information about major school capital projects in B.C., visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/capital/major-capital-projects.


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