On first glance, it appears changes to the catchment areas in Lake Country have had the desired effect of keeping students in the elementary school of their choice.
According to Central Okanagan Public Schools, (see name change story page A3) all but one student who lives in the Davidson Road catchment area had to be relocated to a different school, while every other student was able to be accommodated.
“The change in catchments appears to have worked, at least for now” said secretary-treasurer Larry Paul. “The fact we were able to accommodate almost all of the kids where they want to be is great news. We still see Lake Country as growing so we’re still trying to prepare ourselves for the additional enrolment.”
Davidson Road remains over-capacity with 483 students, while an increase in enrolment in Oyama Traditional School has that facility nearing capacity. Peter Greer is also close to capacity but has room for an additional 40 students if needed.
Combined, the three schools sit
close to 100 per cent full and Paul says it puts the school district in a good position to move forward with efforts to have the provincial government build a new middle school in Lake Country.
“It puts us in a very good position to try and push for that middle school,” he said. “We’re somewhere around 100 per cent occupancy but we’re not bursting at the seams.”
A planned new middle school to be built on the site of the Aspen Golf Course remains one of the district’s top priorities with the influx of new children and young families moving into Lake Country.
Currently Grade 7 students are in an annex next to George Elliot. Paul says even when the middle school is built, the number of students in Lake Country will fill all of the spots.
“The middle school will be Grades 6, 7, 8 and removing that one grade from the elementary schools will give us some breathing room,” he said. “The expected growth will fill those holes as soon as we make them.”
One slight surprise this year, according to Paul, was some unexpected growth at Oyama Traditional School, which now sits just eight students below capacity with 142 children in attendance.
“It was a combination of three things,” said Paul of the increase. “We had decent enrolment in kindergarten, we had the catchment change that brought in some kids from the lower Wood Lake area and some people were interested in a traditional school.”
Any new students entering the Lake Country system during the year will likely be directed to Peter Greer Elementary, which is also home to a day care and Strong Start centre.
The potential for a new middle school still lies with the provincial government and it’s expected a new school takes three years to construct once an announcement is made.
“It’s coming together very nicely to plan for that school, now we just have to get the government to come through with the money to build it,” said Paul.