Carli Berry/Capital News B.C. Premier John Horgan Thursday at Davidson Road Elementary School.

UPDATE: Lake Country to get new middle school: Premier

Premier John Horgan paid a visit to Davidson Road Elementary this afternoon

Lake Country students will be getting a new middle school.

Premier John Horgan announced construction of a 600 seat middle school today while at Davidson Road Elementary School.

“It is time for families in Lake Country to get the new school they have been hoping and waiting for, so their community can continue to grow while their kids thrive,” said Premier Horgan. “Investing in public schools is the right thing to do for families, for communities and for our province. It’s the key to a stronger economy and a brighter future for all of us.”

The Government of British Columbia is providing $35.1 million to build the school. The Central Okanagan School District will contribute $1.5 million to the project, in addition to the $3.8 million already spent on land for the new school.

“The new school will address the physical, social and intellectual needs of children in Lake Country, unlocking educational opportunities,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming. “We are moving quickly to get children out of portables and into classrooms by building the schools our growing communities desperately need.”

The new Lake Country middle school is scheduled to open in September 2021, with 600 new spaces for students in grades 6 to 8. It will be built on district-owned property south of George Elliot Secondary school, and will include a neighbourhood learning centre for the community.

“This new middle school will allow us to continue building a district-wide grade configuration that suits learners at all levels,” said Moyra Baxter, chairperson of the Central Okanagan Board of Education. “It will also relieve some of the pressure on our schools so we can serve learners in the growing community of Lake Country for years to come.”

Lake Country’s schools are operating at 125 per cent capacity, and enrolment forecasts show a shortfall of 368 seats by 2026.

Adding a new middle school addresses the shortfall by adding additional spaces and allowing the district to move to a grade configuration that includes middle schools across the Central Okanagan.

Government is working with school boards and local governments to get students out of portables and into classrooms as quickly as possible by accelerating funding approvals and speeding up school construction.

Quick Facts:

* Construction on the new Lake Country middle school is expected to begin in May 2019.

* The Central Okanagan School District purchased the property for the new school, and the Aspen Grove Golf Course, for $3.8 million. The intention is to convert the golf course property into a playfield for both the new middle school and George Elliot Secondary school.

* Neighbourhood learning centres offer space for community organizations to provide access to education, community services, recreation and culture.

New catchment boundaries were drawn last September, which adjusted the Woodsdale corridor to Oyama, the southeast corner of Winfield to Greer, which took pressure off of Davidson Road Elementary.

With the Supreme Court ruling, new spaces have also been created to adjust for smaller class sizes.

Lake Country has been labeled as one of the fastest growing communities in the country.

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