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school portables

A school board request for a sixth portable at Myrtle Philip school has council members concerned about the growing pressure on local schools. "I think we’re in for a tough time for the next couple of years," Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden told council Monday. Three more portables are planned for Myrtle Philip next fall, Wilhelm-Morden added. The school had three portables last year and added two this fall for a total of five. The sixth portable hasn’t been added yet. "It troubles me that we have so many portables without adding to the school infrastructure," Councillor Ken Melamed said at Monday’s meeting. "I think it’s time for expansion of the school." Melamed, Wilhelm-Morden and Councillor Stephanie Sloan noted that portables reduce the amount of playground area around schools. At the same time there is no increase in school infrastructure to serve the growing student population. Myrtle Philip had 475 students last year and has 513 this year. Planning for a second Whistler elementary school, on a site donated by Intrawest, is underway but it will be several years before the school opens. In its five year capital plan, submitted to the Ministry of Education in September, the Howe Sound School District identified a major renovation and addition to Brackendale Junior Secondary School as its number one priority, replacement of Signal Hill elementary in Pemberton as number two and a second Whistler elementary school as third on the priority list. Expansion of Whistler Secondary is the fourth priority. Wilhelm-Morden said the situation with Whistler’s elementary school will eventually reach the secondary school. Whistler Secondary currently has two portables and this year serves 319 students. The school was at capacity when it opened in September, 1995. Last week the provincial government announced it was providing $5.6 million for replacement of Signal Hill. The school board had asked for $7.6 million. Money for replacement of Signal Hill was made available because of the poor air quality in the building and the effect it could have on students’ health, rather than because of over-crowding.