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More public schools desperately needed in Grande Prairie

Grande Prairie Public School District is bursting at the seams, and newly approved modular classrooms will only go so far.

Superintendent Carol Ann McDonald says they’re in desperate need of even more schools as the population grows.

They’ve already seen a 4.5 per cent increase in enrollment this year, which she expects will eventually be well over 5 per cent.
“When you’re growing 400 to 500 students a year, what that means for Grande Prairie is we need schools and we need them quickly. We could use a third school in Royal Oaks; we have expanded there.”

A third high school is also at the top of the needs list.

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While Charles Spencer High School just opened this fall, it looks like another will already be needed in the next ten years.

McDonald says another 200 to 300 spaces will be needed, as the school is already over 100 per cent capacity.

“Charles Spencer is built for a core of 1,400 students, so at this point in time we keep requesting a permanent addition of 200 students, and there’s permanent modulars that will be attached to that school that will look just like that school.”

Those modulars will be arriving in October. McDonald says that with a large bubble of Kindergarten students entering the school system right now, we will not have room for them once they hit high school age.

They’re hoping for an announcement soon on modernization work at Grande Prairie Composite High, but even with those upgrade, she expects to have eight to 900 less space than needed for high school students within eight years.

McDonald adds that the two schools scheduled to open in 2016 will really just be accommodating those students that are currently in modulars.

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