School addition won’t start until next month

Ever since opening last September, it’s been a tight squeeze at Hazelgrove Elementary.

When the brand-new, $13 million school welcomed its first students, portables were already needed to accommodate everyone who showed up for classes.

Two portables were required immediately. This fall, there’s 10.

Now comes word that construction on a four-classroom, $1.8 million addition won’t begin this month – contrary to what Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon promised in October.

School District 36 expects construction to be underway by mid-December or early January.

The new classrooms are to be completed by August 2010 in order to help the school meet full-day kindergarten and future enrolment needs, Falcon said in a press release issued last month announcing the start of construction.

“Surrey is a growing school district and although Hazelgrove is a fairly new school, it already has a need for more space,” he said.

The addition will create space for 90 additional students, boosting capacity to 450 students in Grades 1 to 7, and 40 more kindergarten students.

Hazelgrove Elementary, located at 7057 191 Street in the Clayton Heights area, learned about the classroom addition last spring.

The school has had two spare portable classrooms in place since September – in anticipation of the move while construction takes place.

They’re still not being used because construction hasn’t started yet, Hazelgrove vice principal Christine Shepherd said.

“We thought construction would start earlier,” she said.

After several delays, the project has only now gone to tender.

Contractors were expected to tour the site this past Tuesday. Construction bids are due Nov. 23.

At its opening last fall, officials said Hazelgrove’s student population was expected to grow to 600 students over four years.

Enrolment currently sits at 714 students in Kindergarten to Grade 7.

Once construction begins, the school will lose the use of two classrooms for the rest of the school year.

A classroom on the main floor and another on the second floor are being converted to temporary emergency fire exits.

That, along with increased growth at the school, means nearly all students in Grades 4 to 7 will be in portables, except for two Grade 5 classes.