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West Sechelt welcomes students with new expansion

Space for 145 more students opened this month
West Sechelt Elem expansion
Inside the new expansion at West Sechelt Elementary School, which will be officially opened on Sept. 21.

The official opening of West Sechelt Elementary School’s expansion is set for Tuesday, Sept. 21. Students have already been welcomed into the new space, which adds room for 145 more students.

The $11.2-million expansion has also been able to eliminate the need for five portables at West Sechelt Elementary and two portables from another nearby school.

“This back-to-school season, students and staff at West Sechelt Elementary have new, improved and larger space to learn, explore and enjoy," Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said in a press release. “I’m pleased to see another completed project where portables are no longer necessary and students are in a safe, permanent and modern learning environment.”

MLA Nicholas Simons also welcomed the expansion, which he said will serve generations of families. 

New superintendent of School District No. 46 (SD46), Kate Kerr, had the opportunity to take a tour of the new amenity, she said at the first school board meeting of the year. 

“It’s beautiful and really keeps student learning and inclusion at the forefront of the design,” Kerr said. 

The province has also issued $76,000 for 28 new child care spaces set to open in the winter of 2022. The funds will be used to provide child care for children one to five years old. 

"These new child care spaces will enable more parents to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities knowing that when they drop their kids off in the morning, they’ll get the nurturing support they need to learn and thrive,” Katrina Chen, minister of state for child care, said in a press release. 


Funding for more upgrades

On Sept. 10, the province announced funding for new accessible playgrounds and school upgrades in SD46.

The Halfmoon Bay Elementary playground received $165,000 in funding. The materials will be delivered in the next couple of weeks and installed shortly after, SD46 secretary-treasurer Nic Weswick told Coast Reporter via email. 

The $1.4 million in school upgrades include projects at three SD46 schools. At Pender Harbour Secondary, funding will go toward a dust collector system replacement, and the addition of a glass wall fire separation between the wood and metal shops, which adds visibility between the shops. Floor moisture mitigation will be done at Kinnikinnick Elementary, which will also have new flooring in 50 per cent of the building. New flooring will be added for the rest of the building in 2022-23, according to the recent strategic plan report. A 100 per cent LED lighting retrofit is also planned for Elphinstone Secondary.