Breaking ground on Wednesday for the new Learning Commons at Abbotsford Christian School are (from left) building project coordinator Steve Atsma; capital campaign co-chairs Amy Van Belle and Rick Thiessen (also board chair); ACS grandparent and fomer student of the first classroom in 1953, Alice Brandsma; Mayor Henry Braun; and executive director Julius Siebenga. (Submitted photo)

Abbotsford Christian School breaks ground on new building project

Capital campaign raises $10.5 million from the community

Abbotsford Christian School (ACS) officially broke ground on Wednesday as they replace, upgrade and build onto their existing middle and secondary campus.

This project comes on the heels of a successful capital campaign that saw the school raise a total of $10.5 million (and counting) from the community.

Several members of the ACS society spoke at the event about the value of creating a building with 21st century learning spaces to support innovative learning.

“To be able to provide spaces that allow students to learn the competencies required for today is essential—and that’s the vision behind this building,” said Julius Siebenga, ACS executive director.

“We have a great city and a great community who believe in this wholeheartedly.”

RELATED: SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford Christian School groundbreaking event

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Special guest Mayor Henry Braun encouraged the staff and students in his remarks. “You have a vision to engage students’ minds, hearts and souls – so that they can be well-equipped to make a difference in this world…to bring hope and healing to a broken world, and I’ve seen it first-hand in my many visits to your classes as you ask questions about climate change, transportation, redevelopment and

homelessness. You are helping to solve problems right where you are.”

Nearly 800 middle and secondary students, staff, and community members counted down as the excavator came to life and the ground was broken at the location of what will be the new Learning Commons.

In the spirit of the ACS’ entrepreneurial community, each of the shovels used in the groundbreaking were designed and painted by students, parents and teachers.

Reagan Van Belle, current Grade 12 student and MC for the event, said that this generation of students has been blessed by the previous generation, and now “it’s our turn to pay it forward.”

The building project is set to be completed by late 2020 and includes 10 new classrooms, seven state-of-the-art science labs and maker-spaces, multiple collaboration and presentation spaces, an expanded gymnasium, new front reception, and a flexible Learning Commons for everything from quiet group work areas to large-scale theatre productions.

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