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


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

Just Posted

Abbotsford police cruiser t-bones civilian vehicle en route to emergency call

South Fraser Way and Gladwin blocked off as police conduct investigation

Police seek owners of recovered items in Abbotsford

Abbotsford Police Department posts property on social media

Family of former nurse donates hospital freezer in her memory

Donation made to store breast milk for babies at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Trail-cam thief unaware of being on camera

Anyone recognizing the thief urged to contact Abbotsford Police Department

VIDEO: B.C. Mountie killed by drunk driver honoured by memorial playground

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read