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Coquitlam high school will get 300 more student spots next year

The $18-million two-storey building is expected to go up at the back of Dr. Charles Best Secondary by the fall of 2025.

Twelve more classrooms in a pre-fabricated building are coming to a Coquitlam high school.

Today, May 10, Rachna Singh, B.C.’s minister of education and child care, said Dr. Charles Best Secondary will see 300 more student spaces by the fall of 2025.

The $18-million two-storey building is expected to go up at the back western side of the high school — next to the pre-fab structure that went up in February 2021 to serve 150 students.

“We know this is a functional space designed with our students and teachers in mind,” School District 43’s board of education chair Michael Thomas, a Port Coquitlam school trustee, said at the news conference inside the current pre-fab building at Best.

Thomas also told the Tri-City News that the additional room will also be used as flexible space as construction is underway for future seismic upgrades at the Como Lake Avenue school.

Singh’s news comes about six months after she announced $15 million for a new pre-fab building at Scott Creek Middle, off Guildford Way in the City Centre neighbourhood of Coquitlam; construction is now underway, with an expected move in this September to provide 250 additional seats, Thomas said.

The push for pre-fab buildings is part of Victoria’s plan to add more classrooms around the province faster, cutting the time in half compared with a traditional school build.

Asked about SD43’s wish to see Hazel Trembath Elementary rebuilt on its former site, following an arson attack last fall, Singh told the Tri-City News that SD43 will submit its business plan to the ministry, which will find “the best way to support the school.”

“At this time, we are in the planning stages.”

The minister also pledged to increase operational funding for Strong Start programs around B.C. Last month, SD43's board of education cut three Strong Start programs from next year's budget due to lack of provincial cash.

SD43 trustees Chuck Dennison, Zoe Royer, Kerri Palmer-Isaak and Jennifer Blatherwick attended the news event, as well as Best principal Heather Murphy who is retiring in June.