Every student at Sunnyside Elementary is now learning from inside the school’s building.
Until mid-November, when an additional 10 classrooms opened, many were attending classes inside one of six portables on the grounds of the South Surrey school.
The provincial government officially announced last fall’s opening on Friday (Feb. 3) morning at the elementary school, with Rachna Singh, minister of education and child care and members of the school board present.
The 250-seat expansion means that all portables still on site are empty and will be removed during the summer, Gary Tymoschuk, co-chair of the Surrey Board of Education, said.
“I know these additional classrooms are much needed to support our growing community. We all who are living in Surrey, we know the pressure that Surrey is facing and, especially, the increasing enrolment,” Singh said during the announcement.
“We know there is still more to do and are committed to continued work with the Surrey School District to find beneficial solutions to its enrolment growth.”
Sunnyside’s upgrades included sensory floors and walls, installed to help meet the needs of more students in an inclusive way, as well as gender-neutral individual washrooms on both floors of the building and flexible seating in classrooms.
With the additional space, childcare will also be more accessible for families, Singh said.
Grade 6 students, Peyton Symons and Brandon Lyons, two Sunnyside students who were learning in the portables when the school was running over-capacity, spoke at the event.
“The biggest difference now that we are in the building is that we have a greater sense of community,” Peyton said.
“We are all learning in one space. It is easy for us to connect with our friends from other classes, and we can work on collaborative projects in the open common-learning spaces.”
Meanwhile, Brandon brought some laughs with his expression of joy at having natural light in his new classroom, something he was missing while learning inside a portable.
“We were happy learners in the portables, but we are happier being inside the school,” he said.
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