Langley Secondary School may be entering its final six months of operation, given that the Board of Education has already started the ball rolling to close the school.
Trustees emphasized at their December meeting that the school may not close — but if it is to close at the end of June, they had no choice but to start the formal and lengthy process in December.
There are many factors leading to the possible closure. The school is Langley’s oldest high school, its enrolment is declining and it is in need of major seismic upgrades.
In addition, the school district has to come up with significant funds to build a new high school in Willoughby. Closing a school on a prime piece of property which could be sold would go quite a way to amassing capital for that project.
However, a closure of the school would cause significant disruptions for students. H.D. Stafford, which had been a secondary school and was converted to a middle school as part of a gradual introduction of middle schools in Langley, would revert to a secondary. This would come despite a number of renovations to Stafford to make it appropriate as a middle school.
While it may not be too difficult to turn it back into a senior secondary, facilities such as shops are minimal. LSS has a very good industrial education program and a number of well-equipped shops, and it would be a shame if those facilities are lost to high school students, given the importance of apprenticeship and technical education.
LSS is also adjacent to the very well-equipped McLeod Athletic Park and has been able to use park facilities to enhance some of its programs. This too would be lost to students, should the school close.
Perhaps the biggest challenge may come for students who will be in middle school in September. Simonds Elementary has been proposed as the new middle school, should Stafford take over for LSS. While it is a good-sized school, it is not set up to be a middle school at this point in time.
There would need to be some significant changes there for it to be ready to welcome middle school students in September.
Parents and students will have an opportunity for input into these possible changes at an open house set for Jan. 14. All those with an interest in this issue should make a point of attending.