Where we’ve been?
In the spring and summer (see link) we shared with you how our Facilities Planning Task Force recommended from the options available, that LCS pursue replacing the Fort with an expansion to the elementary as the best solution to address the emerging space and capacity challenges on our campuses. The Board then created a small ad hoc committee tasked with the responsibility to represent the school in tendering proposals for an architect and a construction management company to begin the next steps of the planning process.
Growth & Development (GAD)
Between 2017-2019, the Board initiated a public consultation process called Growth and Development which aimed at investigating possible solutions to the growing interest from families in the region to enrol their children at LCS. It was recognized that the Fort, a modular portable building currently housing central office and 8 classrooms, was only a temporary solution. The Fort is currently being leased from Lions Gate Christian School but has now exceeded its expected use period. We engaged an architect and shared a design concept with the society. The proposed design was for a new grade 4-8 middle school building placed on the south side of the current elementary campus. More than 90% of the society members present at the GAD meetings approved of the project. However, the final recommendation of the GAD process feasibility study in 2019 was that LCS did not have the administrative capacity in place to manage a building project.
In the meantime, the Society approved a plan to add 6 modular classrooms on the south side of the high school and middle school building to address the short term space issues. This project was completed and opened in the spring of 2020. We have also begun the process of updating and upgrading rapidly deteriorating facilities in the high school.
Since the GAD process concluded, LCS has been filling most cohorts at grades K-5 to 100+ students, and has reached a total student population in K-12 that is approaching 1300 students. At this rate, LCS will have over 1400 students in subsequent years. While we might be able to be creative in providing classroom space for this number of students, the strains on specialty teaching areas, science labs, collaborative spaces, meeting areas and office spaces will be evident. We are already using every square inch of space in the middle school (296 students) and in the high school (390 students). At 563 students, our elementary school is among the 5 largest elementary schools in Langley and we expect to hit a capacity of more than 600 students in the coming years.
May 2021 Society Meeting
At the May Society meeting (link), the Strategic Leadership Team shared our plan for multi-campus expansion over several years. This is different from our original GAD plan of building a very large grade 4-8 school. Some of the reasons for abandoning this proposal are listed below:
- We believe keeping grades K-5 in the same building is preferable and more developmentally appropriate than having grades 4-5 in a large middle school.
- Middle schools are at their best with school populations between 300-500 students.
- A middle school with 15 classrooms would have a much smaller footprint than one with 25 classrooms.
- The original plan did not address the need for high school upgrades or modifications
- The projected cost of a large middle school building did not leave capacity to take on other campus improvements
- Developing a multi-campus, multi-phased school-wide expansion plan allows LCS to grow capacity as we are able, with the needs of all students in mind
Facilities Planning Task Force
In the spring of 2021, we assembled a talented and experienced working group of construction and development industry professionals to examine a number of options for LCS to pursue, one of which included the original GAD plan. The group unanimously endorsed a multi-phased plan, beginning first with the immediate need to replace the Fort modular building with an elementary school addition. This plan would not dramatically increase the school’s current footprint, nor will it result in increased traffic or congestion. Following the task force recommendation, the LCS Board created a small ad hoc Fort Replacement Committee of board members (Tim Bontkes, Dennis Martini) and Frank Wood, which was tasked with hiring an architect and seeking proposals for a construction management company.
I am excited that we are stepping into the future with hope and optimism. I love the naming of partnerships and connections; these will strengthen our future as well.MAY 2021 SOCIETY MEETING EXIT SURVEY
At the November 29 Annual General Meeting we will be updating our community about where we are at in developing a site plan and starting the first phase – replacing the Fort with a 8-10 classroom addition at the elementary school. We anticipate that a follow up meeting will be required early in 2022 to seek society approval for the final plan to begin construction in summer 2022.
Any questions about the planning so far can be directed to email@example.com.