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Central Okanagan school system struggles with rapid growth – Kelowna News


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Anyone who has lived in the central Okanagan for the past few years can tell you that he is growing rapidly.

Central Okanagan School District Superintendent Kevin Kaardal can assign a number.

“We are growing to roughly the size of an average elementary or middle school each year, between 500 and 700 children. “

“We use, in most schools, all available space to operate, which puts pressure on the system,” he added.

The cut is forcing the district to make changes to its school pools in West Kelowna and Mission.

On the west side, George Pringle Elementary School will be relocated to Webber Road Elementary School for the 2022/23 school year to make way for the construction of a new high school. Therefore, the elementary French immersion program must be relocated.

Constable Neil Bruce Middle School and its elementary schools are overcrowded, while there is room in the Glenrosa Middle School watershed, therefore SD 23 recommends relocating an elementary school from the CNB watershed. in Glenrosa.

Meanwhile, the three elementary schools in the Okanagan Mission are at 129% capacity and growing. All three sites are very small and present significant parking and traffic congestion issues. Canyon Falls Middle School is currently at 96% capacity and cannot be expanded.

The school district owns the former Bellevue Creek Elementary School building, which has 12 classrooms and can accommodate over 300 students. He also owns two plots of land in the Crawford Estates area. However, government approval of a new school is unlikely, while SD 23 leaves Bellevue Creek unused.

In both West Kelowna and Mission, the early plans for the school district created anxiety among parents. The Bellevue Creek Elementary School building is currently home to two child care providers who could be relocated if the school were to reopen.

In the Westside, the decision to replace George Pringle Elementary School with a high school was not popular, but was sold to parents as a last resort after the school district was unable to acquire land elsewhere. Parents of elementary French immersion students in the area have requested appropriate consultation on where the program would be moved, a process which is now underway.

The school district has launched a pair of parent surveys for those in the Westside and the Mission, as well as consultation websites which can be found here (Westside) and here (Mission).

Kardaal says he’s grateful for the new college that opened this fall in Lake Country, but the school board continues to push the government for more schools and encourages voters to contact their MPs about it. .

“We strongly encourage the government to build schools, we have to solve our watershed problems.”

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