No seismic upgrade for LSS

$20 million to be put toward construction of a new school instead

Suzanne Hoffman

Suzanne Hoffman

A planned $20 million worth of seismic upgrades to Langley Secondary is not going to happen, confirmed Superintendent Suzanne Hoffman at last Tuesday’s Langley Board of Education meeting.

“There is very little appetite by the community to do the seismic upgrades,” Hoffman said. “Staff are no longer exploring that.”

But what district staff are exploring is the feasibility of ‘right-sizing’ LSS — building a smaller high school there and attaching it to newer portions of the school, like the gym and trades wing.

The district is able to use the province’s committed $20 million for seismic upgrades toward a new school in Langley.

The board of education has served notice of the closure of LSS but by procedure policy, trustees have to spend 60 days consulting with the public before making a decision on shuttering Langley’s oldest high school.

The board will make that decision at a special meeting on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.

Before that, it is holding a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at LSS, allowing people to speak to the possible closure.

But even if the board decides to close LSS, it would take years to implement that decision, stress trustees.

Trustees were originally going to make a decision on the district’s long-term facilities plan at the Tuesday meeting, but put that off because it would be violating the 60-day consultation policy.

But Hoffman did provide an update on where staff is at when narrowing down its options, based on community feedback.

Willoughby residents have confirmed they want a high school. They will take a middle school but prefer a secondary facility, she said.

But even if the ministry of education comes forward with money, which they haven’t yet, the district still needs to find around 10 acres of land.

The district staff team are also looking at turning H.D. Stafford back into a high school and turning Simonds Elementary into a middle school.

Trustee Alison McVeigh commented that all of the information being thrown out to parents and students is “extremely complex and there are a number of balls being juggled.”

Hoffman said in all the consultations they have done, most parents want to know what are the next steps, what is the timeline, what will the transitions look like.

District staff don’t have those answers yet.

The ministry wants Langley to be ready with a business plan to build schools, but has not given any promises on timelines or money forthcoming.

Langley Times

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