No room for Vancouver kids in downtown schools 0
Val Coopersmith is the principal of Lord Roberts Elementary speaks to 24hrs on how her school will be expanding to accommodate more students. There is an issue with overcrowding in schools in Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuesday March 5, 2013. (KEVIN HILL/ 24 HOURS)
Nearly half of high school students living in downtown Vancouver have to go elsewhere to learn because of crowded conditions, according to a new report, even as the rest of the school district faces declining enrolment.
Vancouver School Board director of facilities Jim Meschino’s report will be reviewed on Wednesday. It suggests seeking the City of Vancouver’s help to find more locations to build schools downtown.
Across the district, meanwhile, the board has seen a 1% decline in enrolment annually.
International Village Elementary and Coal Harbour Elementary are the only schools currently slated to be built downtown, with the former expected in 2015.
“Further, even with the possible addition of a small elementary school at Coal Harbour it is anticipate(d) that the demand for school space will continue to exceed spaces available,” Meschino wrote in his report.
The report noted Vancouver is also losing students to schools in North and West Vancouver, though it’s unclear exactly how many.
VSB spokesman Kurt Heinrich said on Tuesday Lord Roberts Elementary, located in the West End residential neighbourhood, is one relief option. The school’s adjacent adult education building is expected to take overflow from Elsie Roy Elementary, which the report noted has a “significant” capacity problem.
Lord Roberts principal Val Coopersmith said the school, which is spread over four floors, two buildings and has about 460 students enrolled, already placed two classrooms and a lunchroom into the separate adult education building. Another two classes being planned could accommodate an additional 40 kids.
School trustee Allan Wong said the board underestimated the number of children expected to reside in downtown, adding the board could face similar problems around the University of B.C. lands and in the southeast Fraser area.