An addition to Surrey’s over-crowded Sullivan Heights Secondary School is nearly complete and will see students using the space at the start of the new school year.
The 29-classroom, 700-seat addition was expected to be complete by last fall, but experienced delays due to COVID, supply-chain issues and flooding. It will still be undergoing some work throughout the month of September, however students will be able to attend, as usual, come Sept. 6.
The addition brings in 28 new educational spaces to the school in a $34.3 million expansion project.
“Students and families in this community have been waiting patiently for this additional space, which will allow staff and students to move out of a portable and into a bright, open and engaging learning space,” said Laurie Larsen, chair of Surrey Board of Education in a press release.
A new gymnasium, science labs, food labs, a digital arts studio, dance studios and multi-purpose rooms are included in the added space.
With the expansion of the school, Sullivan Heights Secondary has a total of 68 educational spaces within the building, which is the most of any high school in the Surrey district. It now has seating available for 1,700 students.
“This 700-seat addition means that we are no longer on an extended day, students and staff will more easily be able to collaborate, and extracurricular activities are no longer impacted by the length of the day,” said David Baldasso, principal.
“These new modern learning spaces such as the tech lab, maker spaces and foods labs will also allow us to offer more choice and opportunities to students for years to come.”
There is also a connector to the existing building, so that there is a shared main entry and admin workplace.
Sullivan Heights Secondary’s addition was announced in June 2018 to combat over-crowding throughout the district and the Surrey school. The work was announced by then-education minister Rob Fleming.
“Sullivan Heights Secondary’s students have put up with crowded hallways and portables for too long,” Fleming said at the time.
“We are proud to be making this urgently needed investment, to relieve overcrowding and give students a safer, more comfortable environment where they can focus on learning and succeed.”
By the fall of 2018, Sullivan Heights Secondary had become the district’s most overcrowded, at 153.4 per cent capacity.
Before the addition, the high school was running at a capacity of 1,000 students while enrolling 1,646 students in October 2021.
The high school had 14 portables to help cope with the many students. The temporary classrooms will be removed as the project is completed.