Drivers on West Shore Parkway near Constellation Avenue can now look up and see two new Langford schools starting to take shape.
The almost $100-million project remains on budget and on schedule just less than a year before Pexisen Elementary and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School are expected to welcome students.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of families in Westhills region and the western part of Langford who are excited about being able to walk their kids to school,” Ravi Parmar, Sooke School District board chairperson, said at the construction site on Friday.
Amid a school year where 827 students joined the district, Parmar said they project the two new schools will be near capacity on the first day of school. Pexisen Elementary will have a capacity of 500 students and Centre Mountain Lellum will be able to hold 700. There will also be a childcare centre attached to the elementary school, but the number of spaces is yet to be known as the process of finding a provider for the space hasn’t started yet.
On the northeast side of Centre Mountain Lellum will be the middle school’s artificial turf field, which was funded by the City of Langford. Parmar said it was an important part of the schools helping to serve as community hubs. He hopes there will be little need for buses once the schools open, due to how close they are to housing and the district is always working with municipalities to make routes to school safe for students.
The new schools will also have “ground-based heat pumps,” architecture that takes advantage of natural light, and automatic sliding doors at the main entrances.
“The pandemic has been a challenging time for K to 12 schools,” Parmar said. “If anyone told me that just outside of one of the most challenging school year’s in the history of our district, in the history of our province, that this would be a record-breaking year for enrolment, then I would be laughing.”
Parmar said they’ve been focused on the pandemic, but have also made sure to look ahead.
“We’re excited that this is going to be our future, a future focused on learning and engagement and growth.”
The school district said it’s currently waiting on ministry approval for its next priority school site on Latoria Road.