Wildflower School will remain a kindergarten to Grade 9 program at Central School.
School District 8’s board of trustees voted unanimously in favour of a plan Tuesday to keep the program at its location following months of debate about whether Wildflower’s middle school grades should be relocated.
But after meeting with parents yet again Tuesday, trustees deliberated for less than 20 minutes before voting for a plan that caps Wildflower’s Nelson location at 168 students and requires renovations to the building.
Becky Coons, a Creston trustee and former Wildflower parent, had previously spoken out in favour of keeping the program under one roof despite a staff recommendation that Grade 7-9 be moved to Trafalgar Middle School.
“I’m really excited we’re able to keep that family of school together,” she said.
The new plan will change a room being used as a library and multi-purpose space into a classroom. The library and a breakout space will be moved to a new area created by the renovation of change rooms. New washrooms are also being added.
“The good news is we have all learned more about Wildflower School and the space issues at Central School,” said trustee Sharon Nazaroff.
That’s an understatement.
Central School, which also houses the district’s offices, has a current capacity of 161 students. That isn’t enough to accommodate the 154 currently enrolled at Wildflower as well as the 13 students in the REACH program.
Staff pitched moving REACH to L.V. Rogers, but trustees shot down that idea after pushback from current and former students as well as the program’s instructors.
That left Wildflower, which was projected to grow to 183 students. Parents packed public forums and district meetings to voice their opposition to splitting students up, which they said would ruin a key aspect of Wildflower’s program.
Capping enrolment, in the end, was the middle ground.
Trustee Dawn Lang initially supported relocating Wildflower’s middle grades, but said Tuesday that public feedback had changed her mind.
“At the end of the day it’s a choice between the school’s philosophy and the school’s growth,” she said.
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