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Wednesday , 3 March 2021
Cold Lake Elementary School. Image credit: NLPS.

NLPS continues to tackle growing student population in Cold Lake

Timelines and format to give feedback on the school division’s three options are still being decided.

Northern Lights Public Schools is moving forward to address the growing student population in Cold Lake in anticipated some schools would reach or exceed capacity within the next few years.

The division’s Cold Lake Configuration Committee met again last Thursday for the first time in six months and received an update on student enrolment projections.

The last time the committee met, they had decided to present three potential options for configuring NLPS schools in the Cold Lake area to the public for feedback.

“Our first step will be in the plan is to share them with staff at the schools first so they’re familiar and they have a chance to give some feedback,” said NLPS communications officer Nicole Garner.

“Then we will be rolling it out to parents and members of the public. There is a little gap there because the staff may ask some questions that we may want to go back and clarify before we send it out to the wider community.”

The committee consists of 1-2 parents from each NLPS school in Cold Lake while the principal and vice-principals administration from the schools usually attend as well.

Garner said the timelines and format for teachers and feedback are foggy right now with current health protocols.

“It’s not really as simple a thing is sending out a written plan and then a survey. It really is a conversation that needs to take place, an opportunity for people to ask questions because there’s a lot of moving pieces with us,” she said.

“The committee had several meetings, to review numbers and projections and school capacity of different schools and possible grade configurations, and how that affects transportation and all that kind of stuff.

“It really isn’t a simple thing, which is why the plan was for more of a meeting type format, presenting information, collect some feedback, and allow people to ask some questions.”

The committee will take all feedback to the NLPS board along with their final recommendation.

The new configuration could begin as soon as September 2021, depending on the option chosen, and whether they will be phased in.

“Maybe there would be very few aspects of it for September. But again, that depends on on what’s selected, and then how quickly we’re able to make some of the changes that need to be made to transition from current configuration to the new configuration,” said Garner.

This final decision could impact any or all of Cold Lake Elementary, Middle School, and High School, North Star Elementary, Nelson Heights Middle School, Art Smith Aviation Academy, Cold Lake Outreach, and Grand Centre Middle School, currently leased to Happy House.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.