While Peace Wapiti School Division is celebrating the announcement of a new K-8 school in Whispering Ridge, it only helps solve part of the problem.

Board Chair Dana McIntosh says they still need three more schools outside of Grande Prairie’s borders.

“What we got helps us to alleviate the enrolment spike at Harry Balfour school, but we’re also looking for a K-8 school to be located in Heritage Estates. We will continue to lobby.”

They’re also in need of another K to 8 school in Clairmont Heights, and would like a new high school to replace Peace Wapiti Academy.

McIntosh stresses the importance of getting students outside of the city, as they’re dealing with very long school bus rides.

“We have some kids that are actually riding the bus for two hours and 45 minutes at the elementary level in a full day, and it’s hard on the little ones. The more we can cut back on the amount of time that they have to be on those buses the better.”

Peace Wapiti was also allotted three modular classrooms to help until new schools can be built.

Photo: Grande Prairie-Smoky MLA Everett McDonald tours the crowded Harry Balfour School with Principal Darren Young, PWSD Superintendent Sheldon Rowe, and Board Chair Stacey Pelland.