New school site bought in Willoughby

A four-acre site was purchased for a future school.

A new elementary school site on 78th Avenue and 205th Street in Langley has been purchased for $9.3 million, the provincial government announced Wednesday.

The purchase is the first step in the process that could lead to a new elementary school, though construction costs still have to be approved.

The site is in the fast-growing Yorkson area, where schools have been under increasing enrolment pressures. The nearby Yorkson Middle School opened several years ago with portables on its first day.

The population of the area is expected to rise by approximately 300 per cent once it is fully developed.

“As one of the few growing school districts in the province, Langley is in need of the learning spaces that will be provided by the Southwest Yorkson project,” said Rob McFarlane, Langley’s school board chair. “The board of education and district staff have worked hard to secure a site for a future possible additional elementary school in the Willoughby community, and it is exciting to see those plans begin to take shape with the acquisition of a property.”

“More and more families are choosing to make their homes in Langley, and our government is committed to building the schools they need,” said Rob Fleming, minister of education. “By purchasing this land now, we are investing in the future of families and students in Langley, and ensuring there is room to grow.”

The provincial government provided $7.6 million of funding and the school district put forward $1.7 million for the 1.86 hectare (4.6 acre) site.

The school site purchase does not mean a school will be immediately be built. More funding will be needed for construction.

A new secondary school is currently under construction in Willoughby, as the current R.E. Mountain Secondary is to be converted into a middle school.

The school is not a replacement for Willoughby Elementary, the oldest school in the neighbourhood. That school is expected to remain open.

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