Sullivan Elementary School PAC president Elaine Rorison speaks during an announcement for a 200-seat addition at Sullivan Elementary on Thursday (April 18). With Rorison is (from left) Surrey Board of Education chair Laurie Larsen, Surrey-Panorama MLA Jinny Sims, education minister Rob Fleming and Premier John Horgan. (photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey

Construction to begin soon on Sullivan Elementary addition

Education Minister slams Liberals for taking too long to get project off ground

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.

READ MORE: New funding announced for Surrey schools (May 20, 2016)

RELATED: ‘Portable explosion’ continues in Surrey, with district predicting $10.7M bill (Feb. 14, 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.”

Also included in the 2016 funding announcement was a new secondary school in Grandview Heights, an elementary school in Clayton North, additions to Woodward Hill and Panorama Park elementary schools, and the purchase of land for a future school in Port Kells.

Construction has yet to begin on Grandview Heights Secondary, while the Panorama Park addition is roughly 55 per cent completed and construction started in January on Clayton’s Maddaugh Road Elementary. The Woodward Hill addition has been completed.

In a release, the provincial government says construction begin before the end of the school year on the new Grandview Heights Secondary. Other projects that are expected to break ground soon a 100-seat addition to Coyote Creek Elementary, a 150-student addition to Frost Road Elementary and a new Douglas-area elementary school, which will have capacity for 605 students.

“Since September 2017, government has approved investments of more than $220 million in Surrey, including new student seats at new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades to keep kids safe, and land purchases to plan for future growth. Currently, there are 2,100 more student spaces under business-case development,” the release notes.

SEE ALSO: Over-budget bids cause delay of five Surrey school projects (Nov. 20, 2018)

READ MORE: Surrey school district’s portable count rises to 333: Allen

SEE ALSO: Surrey school district surpasses projected enrolment



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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