Some students in South Surrey and White Rock will have to endure construction noise while they learn, for the time being at least, while work continues on additions to three area schools that have been delayed.
As the Surrey school district continues to expand many of its buildings, Sunnyside Elementary, Morgan Elementary and White Rock Elementary schools are now experiencing delays in the opening of their additional spaces. Sullivan Heights Secondary, the district’s most overcrowded school, opened last week after experiencing delays for similar reasons that extended construction for a year.
The announcement of the expansion of Sunnyside Elementary, including an additional 10 classrooms and 655 seats was made on Thursday, March 12, 2020 by then-Minister of Education Rob Fleming. It was expected to be complete by the beginning of the school year.
Later that year, Fleming also announced an expansion for White Rock Elementary – consisting of eight new classrooms and 195 additional seats — on June 4, which was to also be completed by this month.
However, when the school year began on Sept. 6 the expansions at both schools were still underway.
In both cases, the delays are due to supply chain issues, Ritinder Matthew, associate director of communication services for Surrey Schools, told Peace Arch News.
“Our district is working hard to ensure both additions will be ready for students as quickly as possible. We are hopeful that the projects will be complete by late October or early November,” Matthew said.
“These delays have been difficult and frustrating, particularly for our staff and students at both sites. They’ve been patiently waiting for these additions and have continued to work and learn, despite all of the disruptions that an active construction site brings.”
As of Tuesday (Sept. 13) afternoon, construction of the additional space at White Rock Elementary stands at 45 per cent complete, while Sunnyside Elementary is at 54 per cent, according to the Surrey Schools website.
Morgan Elementary’s additional space — eight classrooms for an additional 190 students announced June 2020— was originally scheduled for opening this winter, but is now being pushed to May 2023. Construction of the addition is “well past the half-way mark,” Matthew confirmed.
Development projects for multiple schools in the district are part of an ongoing effort to move students out of portables and into permanent classrooms in B.C.’s largest school-district.