Construction is expected to start soon on a 200-seat, eight-classroom addition to Sullivan Elementary school – three years after it was first announced.
Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming were at the Surrey school to provide an update the project on Thursday (April 18). The province says construction will begin within a couple months and it’s expected to open by September of 2020.
Elaine Rorison, president of the PAC at Sullivan, said it was an “exciting day” for students and families at the school.
“When my eldest first started here at Sullivan, our student numbers were approaching 200. Now, eight years later, we’re just shy of 300. We are quite literally bursting at the seams.”
Rorison said it has been years since families at Sullivan have been able to sit in the gymnasium as a whole to “watch our graduation ceremonies, our concerts, our school performances.” She said she’s “thrilled” to think that in the next few years they “can bring that back home and everyone can see their children progress and grow.”
Surrey Board of Education Chair Laurie Larsen said that despite the “incredible growth and the development” in Sullivan and South Newton, the school has “always had a warm and rural feeling where the school community feels like a family.”
“Certainly though, it has become a very large family that has long outgrown the building,” Larsen said. “Sullivan elementary is need of not only more classroom space, but a larger gym to provide the flexibility to play more kinds of sports and games and also a space to bring everyone together for various events throughout the year.
This addition was part of a nearly $100 million announcement made by former B.C. premier Christy Clark in May of 2016. At the time, it was said the six projects would add 2,700 new student spaces to the fast-growing district.
In a release, the NDP government notes the Sullivan addition was announced as a $3.9-million project that would open in fall of 2017 “but construction never began under the previous government.”
The provincial government committed an additional $9.6 million to the project while in Surrey on April 18. With the district contributing $1.5 million, the total budget has risen to $15 million.
The project will now also include an expanded gymnasium.
“When we were sworn into government, this project should have been further along than it was,” said Fleming. “Our government took quick action to add the necessary funds to build this addition, so fewer students will need to spend their days in portables.”
The Surrey school district had 275 portables in 2016, 273 in 2017 and that rose to 333 in 2018.
I was curious, so I asked the district for portable counts in recent years. It's actually risen under the NDP government, but some #SurreyBC trustees give the party kudos for approving more funding than the Liberals did.
2014 – 276
2015 – 274
2016 – 275
2017 – 273
2018 – 333
— Amy Marie Reid (@amyreid87) April 18, 2019
Horgan said the new spaces at Sullivan Elementary are “part of our government’s work to deliver better education for every student in Surrey and around the province.”