NEW WESTMINSTER – The B.C. government is providing over $30 million for the construction of two new schools in New Westminster, Education Minister George Abbott announced.

A new elementary school will be constructed on the site of the former St. Mary’s Hospital on Royal Avenue in New Westminster. The site was purchased with provincial funds in 2010 for $8.5 million. This new school project has a construction budget of $13.5 million.

The school will provide five kindergarten classes and 18 elementary classes for 100 full-day kindergarten students and 550 students in grades 1 to 5. Construction of the school is scheduled to begin this fall, and it is expected to open in early 2014.

The new West Side Middle school will be constructed at the current site of John Robson Elementary school on Eighth Street in New Westminster. The project has a construction budget of $17.6 million. The new school will provide 20 classrooms for 500 students in grades 6 to 8.

By providing additional learning space for Grade 8 students, the new school will also ease enrolment pressure at New Westminster Secondary. Construction of the new middle school will begin in the fall/winter of 2013-14 and it is expected to open in fall 2015.

Both schools will include Neighbourhood Learning Centres to provide additional services to support children, families and area residents throughout the year. These services will include early childhood development, child-care and family counselling programs, as well as English Language Learning, health services and cross-generational drop-in programs.