Most school districts are experiencing enrolment declines but Langley is begging for new school spaces as one of the districts with fast growing student numbers in one neighbourhood.
The rising student numbers in the Willoughby area continued to present a challenge to the Langley School District this year, despite a new elementary school opening this school year (Lynn Fripps Elementary), and another elementary under construction.
In December of this year the school board announced that the new school would be named after popular former superintendent Richard Bulpitt.
The new kindergarten to Grade 5 school for 510 students will be at 20965 77A Ave. and is expected to open for September 2013.
A new $22.7 million middle school for Grades 6-8 has been approved by the provincial government and will open September 2014.
But that's still not enough to meet the needs of the neighbourhood. This year the district took a harder look at all its facilities to do better planning.
Willoughby should be entirely built out over the next two decades. Based on projections, the area could need a total of 11 elementary schools, four middle schools and two secondary schools, the school district facilities plan noted.
And this year the school district and Langley City and Township created committees to work closer together. The school district has felt left out of planning decisions which meant student spaces were properly forecast.
The next big area for development is expected to be Brookswood/Fernridge.
In most of the district, schools are experiencing drops in student numbers and the board is having to look at what to do about those schools.
Some schools were closed in recent years and the district must decide what to do with the buildings and lands (such as Murrayville, Bradshaw and County Line Elementaries, as well as the Route 32 site on 32nd Avenue in Brookswood).