Abbotsford Traditional Secondary School Abbotsford School District photo

Students to remain at ATSS when construction on seismic upgrade starts next May

Questions about the location of students during construction sparked concern among parents last year

Construction on long-discussed seismic upgrades at Abbotsford Traditional Secondary will begin in May, with students remaining on site over the next year, the provincial government says.

The $19 million project has been in the works for years. Questions about where and how the school’s 750 students would be located, sparked significant parental concern last year.

On Thursday, the province announced construction on the project is expected to begin in May 2021 and wrap up by the start of the 2022-23 school year. A news release issued by the province said “students will remain on site while the work is underway” and that “the project is based off input and consultation from parents of the school’s students and the school community.”

“We are pleased to be able to proceed with the seismic and related improvements to Abbotsford Traditional Secondary,” Abbotsford Board of Education chair Stan Petersen said in the release. “I know the students, parents and staff have been waiting for all approvals to be finalized. We look forward to seeing work commence and final completion in the fall of 2022 for an upgraded school and an enhanced learning environment for our students.”

Last year, more than 1,000 people attended an information session about the seismic upgrades, with many expressing serious concerns about the possibility of the school temporarily closing and students relocated to Rick Hansen Secondary School.

Administrators said last May they were seeking ways to reduce reliance on portables during the work.

In an email, a provincial spokesperson wrote that “the school will use vacant classroom space while work is underway, and contractors will do their best to minimize disruption to students.”

School district spokesperson Kayla Stuckart wrote in an email: “With construction set to begin in May 2021, our teams will spend the next few months reviewing the phased options for the project with the contractor selected to do the renovations. If necessary, we will utilize portables or other existing spaces in the school to accommodate students and staff on site during the seismic upgrades.”

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

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

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