Dasmesh Punjabi School is constructing an $11.5 million building to house its Grade 6 through 12 classes.
The project recently received the go-ahead from city hall and is in the preparation phase, as crews pour structural fill at the school’s Riverside Street campus. The three-storey steel structure will replace most of the 21 portable classrooms currently on site and expand total capacity from 800 to 1,000 students, principal George Peary said.
It will provide “a very nice addition to Matsqui Village and certainly a great addition to our campus,” the former Abbotsford mayor said.
The existing main building will host kindergarten to Grade 5 classes and will undergo some minor renovations to better serve the younger children, Peary said.
Peary said the school’s board initially looked for a new site but were unsuccessful in finding an appropriate new home for the private school that teaches the Sikh religion and Punjabi culture in addition to the standard B.C. curriculum.
The construction will take an estimated 18 months, Peary said.
“If the gods are smiling upon us, perhaps spring break of the 2018/19 school year, we might be able to make the transition to the new building for our older students,” he said.
As a private school, Dasmesh must pay for the project out of its student fees. These fees, which are roughly $2,000 per student each year, will increase to pay for the building, Peary said.
“There’s no question about that.”
Just how big of an increase parents can expect has yet to be decided by the school’s board but Peary said there will be a motion to vote on it at the annual general meeting on Sept. 23.