SURREY (NEWS1130) – Are nearly 1,700 new student spaces enough to accommodate a growth rate of 1,000 new students a year? The Surrey Board of Education says much more will be needed, and soon.

Board Chair Laurae McNally says a cash infusion of $44 million for four projects are just a stepping stone. The money is part of the $353 million capital plan announced by Premier Christy Clark in October 2011.

Additions to Fraser Heights and Panorama secondary schools will start this summer. New elementary schools in Clayton and South Newton are being built as well, with the goal of finishing fall of 2013.

“I am really encouraged because late Friday afternoon, we received word from the Ministry of Education that we can start working on a new capital budget proposal. We’ve been waiting a long time for that.”

That likely means eventually new schools and additions. McNally admits they are needed all over the city for BC’s largest and fastest growing school district.

Still, more than 200 portables remain for now.

Each of the four projects also includes new space to house Neighbourhood Learning Centres.