NEWTON - "I like the new beanbags."
"It's nice and cozy and new."
"It's better than being outside in portables."
Those were some of the statements from students at T.E. Scott Elementary during the opening ceremony of its recent $6 million upgrade and expansion.
Initially started as a seismic upgrade for the school, the Ministry of Education was able to find some extra money to add eight new classrooms as well, eliminating the need for portables at the school and making room for 180 more students indoors.
"If you've got the chaos of construction you may as well do it all," said school board trustee Laurae McNally.
Having opened in November of 1957, the school has seen much change in the once-quiet area. Now, with recent residential development having taken over much of the nearby area, board chair Shawn Wilson said it just made sense to keep this school as up-to-date as possible.
"What a dramatic change, it looks like a brand new school in this community," said Wilson during the opening.
Wilson acknowledged that the upgrades were long-coming for the 56-year-old school, and thanked the community for their understanding during the three-year construction process.
"The patience of the T.E. Scott community for this is remarkable. Of all the school communities we have in Surrey, the T.E. Scott community is probably the benchmark, you've really set the bar high," he said. "This project has been on the minds of your school trustees longer than you can imagine and once the project starts there's a lot of patience required to work through noise and construction, so thank you for your patience during this period."
Education Minister Peter Fassbender was also present during the opening, taking some time to tour the new additions and meet with students.
"We've committed $2.2 billion for seismic upgrades and... it's a huge investment but the investment pales in comparison to the benefit and that's making sure the children in the schools are safe," said Fassbender. "We're delighted to see these projects come online in a school like this and seeing how the contractor was able to keep the school running when we were doing the upgrade was amazing."
And while the new upgrades and additions were being celebrated by everyone in attendance, T.E. Scott principal David Dekerf said it was really the community that made the school what it is.
"This school is much more than a building, it's really about the people and there's really an amazing community here," he said.
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