Top Stories: More space needed for students in Chilliwack

Reflecting on the headlines: Promontory elementary hit almost 200 per cent capacity this year.

Promontory elementary is one of many overcapacity sites in Chilliwack.

Promontory elementary is one of many overcapacity sites in Chilliwack.

Join us at The Chilliwack Progress as we take our readers on a thoughtful trip down memory lane. Our Top Stories will recap the most significant news events, milestones and emerging themes that have shaped Chilliwack in 2016. It was undeniably a notable year, from an unprecedented spike in homelessness, to major development news, to the community revealing its keen interest in crime and politics, and a most caring heart.

 

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Chilliwack students need more space. The message was sent out clearly from the school board over the past year, but has so far led to no action in Victoria. Promontory elementary hit almost 200 per cent capacity this year, with overflow trickling down to Vedder and Watson elementary schools.

But those schools have toppled over capacity, too. And housing planned for Garrison and Webster Landing will push these southside schools well over the breaking point.

The school board has asked the ministry for a new southside school, but also has requested funds to complete the planned addition at Promontory that would increase the school size.

At the same time, this year saw the launch of a district wide reconfiguration review. This means Chilliwack schools could look very different in September 2017. Elementary school would end in Grade 5, middle school would run Grades 6-8 and high school would begin at Grade 9.

District staff are studying whether a shift would ease the burdens at some schools, without placing it squarely on the shoulders of others.

The year ahead will be an interesting one to navigate for students, and a time when the public needs to pay more attention to school board politics than ever.