Western School Division has submitted its 5-Year Capital Plan to the Provincial Government for consideration. With Morden's active immigration program and people choosing to move to the city, growth prompted some larger requests.
Superintendent Stephen Ross predicted; growth is not expected to slow down.
"Going ahead, we anticipate really significant growth in the next few years in the division, hundreds more kids within that five-year window, for sure. And so, there are quite a few capital items that we have to consider in addition to Discovery Trails (School). Discovery Trails is just going to allow us to get started with some of our space issues, but it's certainly not going to alleviate them all. And in fact, when we open up Discovery Trails, there's a strong likelihood we're going to continue to have kids in portable classrooms."
Board Chair Brian Fransen said, based on this information, the Division has refined a request that isn't new to the plan.
"As we have worked on our Five-Year Capital Plan, one of the big themes in Morden, as most people know, is growth. And so, we have our Discovery Trails School starting. There is much work and progress being done at the beginning of that process. All the kids that have spurred that new school announcement, they're getting older, and it won't be long until we are going to be bursting at the seams in our high school. So, on our Five-Year Capital Plan, we have a new high school."
Ross confirmed the high school will need to be built sooner than later and pointed to a growing population in Morden Collegiate Institute.
"This year, we're over 600 students. By the time Discovery Trails opens, we're probably going to have about 750 at the high school and continuing to climb. We've had two schools on our capital plan for quite a long time. We hadn't identified the second one, but we do know that we need a new dual-track high school. It will be our first ask, specifically. We would need design approval as soon as possible on that school so that we can address our needs and not add many more portables here."
In addition to the high school request, Ross shared another significant request on the plan.
"We have also asked the province if they would consider a daycare down by Minnewasta School in the southwest corner of the city, because when we look at the daycare needs in the community, they're really, really significant. There currently is no facility in the southwest corner of the city, so we asked for that only because it came as a specific request for school divisions to make that ask, and so we felt it prudent to do so."
Fransen assured ratepayers they are making sure no matter the rate of growth, they are able to provide top notch education to students in Western School Division.