This year, in Mission, school enrolment is up by about 160 kids in elementary and another 40 students at the middle and secondary level. / File Photo

More than 225 new students at Mission schools

School district officials were only expecting an increase of about 125 students

School enrolment in Mission is up, much higher than expected, particularly in the elementary level.

According to school superintendent Angus Wilson, enrolment is up by about 160 kids in elementary and another 40 students at the middle and secondary levels.

Wilson said the district also capped its international program because enrolment was up there as well.

“All told, we’re up about 225 to 230 students from last year,” Wilson said.

The number is impressive considering Baragar Systems, which calculates expected school increases, predicted a hike of just 85 students.

Wilson said the Mission district thought that number was too conservative and increased its expectations to 125 new students.

“But we are up way above where we projected.”

The addition of another 250 students has created some issues to deal with.

“Some of our schools are very tight. In fact, we have some schools that are completely full, period,” Wilson said.

He said Hatzic Elementary is completely full while West Heights Elementary – which has had closed classes for ages – now has all of them open.

Silverdale Elementary, as it stands now, is full, but has some closed classes that could be opened.

Other schools are now beyond capacity.

Both E.S. Richards Elementary and Hillside Traditional have portables on location.

“We have a huge number of portables at Mission Secondary. It’s very full,” Wilson said.

He said an abundance of students is a good problem to have.

“We added a couple of teachers to alleviate some of the composition issues,” he said

Another issue is buses.

“We’re up 200 riders from last year and so we’re at capacity with busing as well.”

Wilson said the increase is likely due to the number of people moving here from other areas of the Lower Mainland. He expects student growth to continue.

“We have been in contact with the Ministry of Education about a number of capital plans, building expansions or replacements that are very important to us.”

The top three projects on Wilson’s wish list are the expansion of Albert McMahon Elementary, the replacement of Hatzic Elementary and the replacement or extension to Mission Secondary.

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