Coal banks school at ca­pac­ity

En­rol­ment numbers up across the board for School District 51

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS - Fol­low @Melis­saVHer­ald on Twit­ter Melissa Vil­leneuve

Less than two weeks ago, stu­dents re­turned to school af­ter their sum­mer break. But they re­turned to full classes and al­ready some Leth­bridge schools are utiliz­ing al­ter­na­tive spa­ces as a class­room.

The new west­side Coal banks El­e­men­tary School opened this year al­ready at max­i­mum ca­pac­ity. Leth­bridge School District 51 of­fi­cials had fore­cast an en­rol­ment of about 270. How­ever, they were hit with a to­tal of 482 stu­dents reg­is­tered from early ed­u­ca­tion (preschool) to Grade 5.

“Cer­tainly much larger than we had orig­i­nally an­tic­i­pated when we ini­tially started plan­ning the school,” said LSD 51 su­per­in­ten­dent Ch­eryl Gil­more. “We’re full. One of our project-based in­quiry cen­tres is be­ing used as a class­room rather than a project cen­tre be­cause we needed an­other class­room space.”

Eight mod­u­lar class­rooms are be­ing used, with plans for four more mod­u­lar class­rooms to be added next fall.

It’s a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion at schools across the district. En­rol­ment numbers are up across the board, with the great­est in­crease on the west­side, said Gil­more.

G.S. Lakie Mid­dle School is also full, and Chi­nook High School has close to 80 more stu­dents than what was pro­jected.

There are a to­tal of 11,270 stu­dents reg­is­tered in the district for the 2017/18 school year. En­rol­ment has in­creased by a to­tal of 4.6 per cent over­all, said Gil­more.

“We pro­jected around a 2.8 per cent growth, and we’re al­ready 1.8 per cent above what we pro­jected, so cer­tainly strong en­rol­ment growth,” she said. “We’ve had in­creased en­rol­ments on the north­side as well as the south­side, so ev­ery­where has grown, most sig­nif­i­cantly is the west­side.”

Some teach­ers have been added through­out the district to as­sist with the growth. The district is also in the process of re­view­ing class-size re­ports from their schools.

“We will re­view that over the next two weeks and de­ter­mine if we have any hot spots we need to ad­dress.”

Wil­son Mid­dle School re­cently un­der­went an ex­ten­sive mod­ern­iza­tion which was com­pleted this past sum­mer, and a new west Leth­bridge mid­dle school is be­ing built in the Water­bridge sub­di­vi­sion. Gil­more said con­struc­tion is on track for the school to open in Septem­ber 2018.

The district is hope­ful their next cap­i­tal project, a south­east el­e­men­tary school, will be ap­proved for fund­ing by the province.

“Our schools on the south­side are full, over full, and so cer­tainly we were given ap­proval for the plan­ning phases and we’re re­ally an­tic­i­pat­ing and hope­ful about get­ting ap­proval for cap­i­tal projects.”

Gil­more said they’ve worked closely with the de­vel­oper and the City of Leth­bridge to make things “site ready” should con­struc­tion fund­ing be ap­proved.

If so, they hope to have the school built by fall 2020.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.