Two new schools coming to Sooke School District

Province provides $23.3 million for land purchase in Langford

Christmas has come early for the Sooke School District.

On Monday, the province announced it would be contributing $23.3 million towards the purchase of a 6.5 hectare (16 acre) site in Langford for the District to build an elementary and middle school.

“It’s long overdue to build new schools out here in Sooke, which is the fastest growing district in British Columbia, and today to acquire 16 acres of land to be able to build two additional schools was really the first and major step to help deal with school overcrowding in School District 62, to get rid of portables and to give good quality learning spaces here in a fast-growing, dynamic community like the West Shore,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming, who made the announcement at Belmont Secondary school’s learning commons.

The District’s priority will be to build a middle school on the site, located in the Westhills community at the corner of Westshore Parkway and Constellation Avenue, to help ease the pressures at both Dunsmuir and Spencer middle schools, where there are 13 and seven portables respectively serving as classrooms for students.

Following the construction of a middle school, the District also hopes to build an elementary school on the site to address the shortage of kindergarten to Grade 5 spaces that has been brought on by an influx of young families to the Royal Bay Secondary school catchment area.

Ravi Parmar, chair of the District’s board of education, said once complete, the middle school will accommodate roughly 700 students and the elementary school will accommodate about 250 to 300.

“It’s a very exciting announcement. We’re ready to get to work in the new year,” he said. “This will knock off about 20 to 25 portables once the project is complete.”

RELATED: Sooke District eyes Langford properties for new schools

SD62 originally expressed interest in purchasing a roughly 15 acre site on Latoria Road. But two applications to have two properties included in that site removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) were rejected.

Earlier this year the District offered to trade a parcel of land it owns in Colwood in hopes of getting those two pieces removed from the ALR. The Agricultural Land Commission has not ruled on that application.

RELATED: Langford, SD62 partner for land swap deal

Heading into the new year, the District will focus on completing a project definition report, which will look at the cost of the project and size of the schools. Parmar is hopeful the district will break ground in 2018. But funding is still needed to build the schools.


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kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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