Parents and students from Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School filled the Abbotsford School District board room Tuesday evening to call on the district to keep students at ATSS during seismic work. Dustin Godfrey/Abbotsford News

Abby Schools

Admin seeks ways to keep students at Abbotsford school during seismic work

Admin looking for ways to avoid using portables during construction on traditional campus

The Abbotsford School District is back at the drawing board, seeking space solutions to minimize reliance on portables while also keeping students at Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School during upcoming seismic work.

It’s still unclear when any decisions will be made on how students of the high school could be accommodated during the seismic work, as parents and students continue to push the district to keep students at the traditional campus, which includes adjoining Abbotsford Traditional Middle School.

Secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk provided a brief update Tuesday evening, saying the district is seeking solutions to appease parents while also minimizing expenses to the district in a time when the school district is looking at ways to plug their draining accumulated surplus.

RELATED: Abbotsford School District has enough portables to house ATSS students

RELATED: Options presented for Abbotsford students displaced by seismic upgrades

“We began to look at exploring repurposing existing spaces within the whole campus, what opportunities we had to look at and how we would potentially right-size that capacity,” Velestuk said.

“Just look for opportunities to save and what can we do in the building to reduce the number of portables and then what would that look like? So we’re waiting to get some of that costing and design information back.”

Velestuk said he hopes to have that information back in time for the next public board meeting, scheduled for May 28.

Earlier that meeting, parents and students from the traditional campus, who filled the boardroom to voice their concerns, provided their own responses to new options presented by the school district in April.

By and large, the parents’ concerns echoed previous objections raised by parents – that relocating students to Rick Hansen Secondary School could mean more students at catchment schools, which they suggest could mean more use of portables there, or to private schools, removing the students from the public system.

“We cannot see how it would be possible to integrate the traditional students with the other Rick Hansen students. The teachers use differing styles of teaching, and there is no way to accommodate students that are used to a closed campus and no spares on an open campus with spares,” Carelle McKellan told the school board.

However, through their own research, parents also gave their own options with cost estimates to keep students on campus using portables.

RELATED: ‘Fighting and war’: Abbotsford students, parents oppose temporary relocation

Cost estimates from four suppliers for new portables ranged from $105,000 to just over $117,000 per portable, according to the parents’ research, the most expensive of four proposals.

Parents also noted costs of anywhere from just under $29,000 to just over $77,000 a piece to rent for 24 months, while used portables were estimated at $70,000 and relocating existing portables was estimated at just under $20,000.

They also challenged the school district’s declining enrolment projections, citing a 2017 projection that anticipated growth at the traditional campus – both schools combined – to grow from 852 in 2016 to 954 in 2028, an increase of about 12 per cent.

It’s still unclear when a decision will be made; it’s also unclear when work might start.

Velestuk said the district will seek to avoid starting construction in the middle of a semester if the ultimate decision is to move students to RHSS during the work to avoid disrupting the semester.

But if the plan is ultimately to keep all students on the traditional campus, Velestuk said construction could start in, for example, October, and students would simply move to another location on the same campus with less disruption.

Find more of our coverage on the Abbotsford School District here.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More rescues, less flames: Future of Abbotsford firefighting up for discussion

Mayor says talks with province needed, councillors suggest city may need more full-time firefighters

String of purse snatches at Mill Lake in Abbotsford

Two women were mugged in a three week period starting Sept. 30

Harrison outdoor skating rink to open this weekend

Public skating will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Mission principal saves goat, praised as hero by kindergarten students

“Today I get to be the hero in their eyes, changing the world one stuck goat at a time”

Abbotsford man’s murder trial set for January

David Albert Miller charged in death of 52-year-old woman in Kamloops

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

Three cops investigated in connection to ex-Vancouver detective’s sexual misconduct

Fisher was convicted in 2018 after pleading guilty to kissing two young women who were witnesses in a criminal case

Violence response procedures updated for B.C. schools, police

ERASE program expands to target gangs, bullying of students

A pawsitive ending: Missing puppy found after nine-day search in Chilliwack

Pit bull Frankie ran from dog sitter booked through app

SkyTrain workers vote 96.8% in favour of job action, union says

CUPE 7000’s main issues have been wages, staffing, overtime and sick leave

Federal laws at heart of West’s anger up for debate, as Liberals begin outreach

Vancouver mayor to Trudeau’s western critics: ‘Get over yourselves’

Snowboard pioneer Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65

He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011

Most Read