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New middle school, expanded high school announced for Langley

Both changes are to happen in the Willoughby area
R.E. Mountain Secondary student Tanya Mai (left) with B.C. Minister of Education Rachna Singh at the announcement of an expansion of the high school and a new middle school on Friday, March 15. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Langley will get a new middle school in the Smith area and see R.E. Mountain Secondary expanded, provincial and local politicians announced on Friday, March 15.

The province will support the planning process for both projects. No budget or formal timeline was laid out during the announcement at R.E. Mountain.

Education Minister Rachna Singh joked that she was becoming a familiar face in Langley, as the community is one of the fastest growing in B.C.

The Friday announcement means the local school district will be able to start planning for the scope and budget of both projects.

As part of her announcement, Singh listed off some of the recent projects that have been approved or are underway in Langley, including a six-classroom modular addition to Richard Bulpitt Elementary, funding for the new elementary in Latimer, to start construction this spring, a new addition for Langley Secondary to be complete in 2025, and upgrades at Peter Ewart Middle and Vanguard Secondary.

“We know that there’s much more work to be done,” said Singh.

Asked about Premier David Eby’s recent promise to build schools ahead of demand, instead of waiting for existing schools to be over capacity, Singh said the government is moving ahead on that.

“We know how fast our communities are growing,” she said.

The province is looking at ways to build schools faster and sooner, said the minister.

School board chair Candy Ashdown noted that the district is increasing in size by an average of 1,000 students a year in recent years.

“We are confident these projects will provide some relief to all students here on the Willoughby slope,” she said.

Langley Township Mayor Eric Woodward emphasized the partnerships the Township is making with the district, including a just-approved $60 million first phase of a new soccer campus that will be adjacent to the new middle school site in Smith, which is in the southeastern part of Willoughby.

Graduating R.E. Mountain Secondary student Tanya Mai talked about the supportive culture and spirit of collaboration she’s experienced at the school over the past four years – and also mentioned seeing the number of students in the hallways almost double.

While growth is taking place across Langley, much of it has been concentrated in Willoughby over the past 20 years. Multiple new schools have been built, only to add portables shortly after opening.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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