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Abby grad demolishes his old school

The demolition of Abbotsford Collegiate hit a milestone Tuesday, as the main walls came down.
Brad Morrison of Clearview Grinding is both an Abbotsford Senior graduate and the project manager for its demolition.

It was the demolition job of a lifetime – his old high school.

"I was chasing it down. That was on my bucket list – to take down my old school," said Brad Morrison, project manager overseeing the demolition of Abbotsford Collegiate (known as Abbotsford Senior prior to 2006). He graduated from "Abby," as it has always been affectionately known to grads, in 1993.

It was perhaps easier for him to arrange this Bart Simpson fantasy with his employer, Surrey-based Clearview Grinding, because the company owner Mike Lalonde is also an Abbotsford grad.

There was no way they would let another company get this demolition contract.

Morrison attended the Abby open house with his parents Kim and Sherry Morrison, who are also alumni, on June 2. They had one last walk through the halls.

Brad had a nostalgic last look at the shop classes where he took woodwork and metalwork, but allows that going into the library felt like a first.

"I spent a lot of time here as a kid," he said on Tuesday morning, while watching a 46-ton excavator's bucket rip into the school walls like a fork into a cake.  Running the machine was Rob Kermode, yet another Abby grad of 1980.

"We raised a little hell here."

At least 90 per cent of the building will be recycled. Clearview Grinding will process the wood, and it will be either used as bio fuel, or cap cover for landfill sites. The concrete will be crushed and re-used on site, and the rebar and other metals will be recycled.

The demolition will be completed by the middle of August.

"It's the end of an era, that's for sure," Morrison observed.

"You can Photoshop a tear in my eye."

His Grade 9 son starts school at the new Abby this fall, which will officially return to its old name, Abbotsford Senior.

Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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