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New school board building in works

Building a new school district administrative office will mean SD40 won
Building a new school district administrative office will mean SD40 won't have to pay the annual lease of about $700,000 for its current facility at Columbia Square.
— image credit: Google Street View

The New Westminster School District will soon get new administrative offices, thanks to a land deal in Queensborough.

The school board approved the $2.3-million sale of a 2.2-acre vacant property on Duncan Street at its Tuesday night meeting.

Trustee Casey Cook predicts it will be enough money to cover the cost of a new building on the John Robson Elementary property.

“I really like the location, in that it keeps the board offices close to a transit hub,” Cook said on Wednesday.

The specific location and design of the building are still in the works, but Cook said it will be a standalone structure.

However, he said it will be added to the contract with Yellowridge Design Build Ltd., the company building both the elementary and middle school.

He said it’s reasonable to expect the board building will be complete around the same time as the middle school.

Qayqayt elementary, under construction just off Royal Avenue at Merivale and Agnes streets, is slated to open in September.

In April, the portables at John Robson Elementary will be removed to prepare the staging for construction of a new middle school on the property.

Anticipated opening for the middle school is September 2015. Cook says the board offices will open around that time.

“We know what our needs are,” Cook said.

“[The cost] has come within that amount. It’s doable.”

The best part, he added, is that the school district will save the $700,000 annually it has spent to lease its building at Columbia Square.

“We will be able to take that $700,000 and plow it back into education,” Cook said. “It’s a strategy that keeps on giving.”

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