New school agreement signed

Langley is one of the few districts in B.C. where enrolment is growing.

Education Minister George Abbott and Langley Board of Education chair Wendy Johnson signed an agreement for a new Willoughby elementary school on Friday, in the middle of a field on 77A Avenue.

Education Minister George Abbott and Langley Board of Education chair Wendy Johnson signed an agreement for a new Willoughby elementary school on Friday, in the middle of a field on 77A Avenue.

 

Willoughby’s burgeoning population has resulted in overcrowded schools, leaving hundreds of students to learn in portable classrooms.

The opening of Lynn Fripps Elementary at 21020 83 Ave. in September will go a long way to easing that congestion, and now a new school on the northeast corner of 77A Avenue and 209 Street will go even further.

On Friday, Education Minister George Abbott and Langley Board of Education chairman Wendy Johnson signed an agreement for the new school which, at $13.8 million, is a little costlier than the $13.3 million Fripps elementary.

However, land acquisition for the Yorkson school will push the total to more than $20 million.

The agreement was signed in the middle of a field, as the buzz of development could be heard at a condo development across the street on 77A Avenue.

Using as much B.C. wood as possible and adhering to LEED Gold environmental standards, the new school will accommodate up to 510 students from Kindergarten to Grade 7.

As well, community programs will be offered at an on-site Neighbourhood Learning Centre (NLC).

With the project agreement now in place, the board of education will tender the construction of the school, with ground breaking anticipated for this summer. It is scheduled to open in September, 2013.

Lynn Fripps Elementary, according to the ministry, is now midway through construction and is on budget and on time. The school is scheduled to open in September for up to 510 Kindergarten to Grade 7 students.

Planning for a new middle school in the Yorkson area is also under way, with opening day anticipated for September, 2014.

Friday’s ceremony was attended by Langley MLA Mary Polak, who commented: “As a resident of Willoughby, I look forward to the local programs and services that will be available at these schools. Schools are a key part of our children’s lives and these Neighbourhood Learning Centres will be integral to our community as well.”

Johnson, who was accompanied by vice-chairman Rob McFarlane, acting superintendent Suzanne Hoffman and secretary-treasurer David Green, remarked that the agreement demonstrates that the district is “making important progress in addressing the needs of families in the fast growing Willoughby area.”

She added, “We remain committed to working closely with our local and provincial governments to ensure we are proactive in planning for the future in this high growth region.”

The Langley School District is one of the few in the province where K-7 student enrolment is growing.