Thames Valley to address overcrowding at northwest end schools

Sir Arthur Public School at 2435 Buroak Drive. Photo from Sir Arthur Public School Facebook Page.

Officials with the Thames Valley District school board are looking at other options to accommodate the demand for enrolment at a school in London’s northwest end.

Due to the rapid growth of residential development within the area, a report sent to the board Tuesday stated “urgent action” is required to address capacity issues at Sir Arthur Currie Public School located on 2435 Buroak Drive, nestled just south of Sunningdale Road and west of Wonderland Road.

The school opened less than five years ago with an intended capacity of 533 students, according to the board. Enrolment has since reached 995 and is expected to exceed  1,300 by 2024.

“The school’s capacity has been pushed to its absolute limit,” said Superintendent of Facilities Services and Capital Planning Geoff Vogt.

As a result of the overcrowding, the school has placed 22 portables on site and sought out temporary parking for staff at a nearby city park.

Last October, the Ministry of Education approved funding for a new school in the area capable of enrolling over 800 students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. However, Vogt said there’s no time to wait as the design and construction of a school can take over four years and the board has not yet acquired land for said school.

To help alleviate the rapid growth at Sir Arthur Currie, Vogt presented several recommendations for the school that would go into effect next September if approved.

The proposals include only having children from Kindergarten to Grade 6 attend the school and have Grade 7 and 8 students attend a fully renovated satellite school on the campus of Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School, which is the designated secondary school for Sir Arthur Currie students.

Younger siblings of current students at Sir Arthur Currie will be eligible to register at the school, but new families in the school’s attendance area would attend either University Heights Public School on Ford Crescent off of Western University’s campus, or Knollwood Park Public School on Gammage Street in the city’s northeast end. The decision would be determined by the board of trustees and bus transportation would also be provided for those students.

An additional recommendation being proposed relates to students from other areas in northwest London known as Fox Hollow West and Sunningdale North who are currently bussed to Ryerson Public School. Due to the continued growth, additional students would be bussed to Wilfrid Jury Public School or John P. Robarts Public School.

School community members are invited to provide questions or comments about the proposed options on the school board’s Northwest London Accommodation Options site.

Trustees are expected to make a final decision during the October 26 board meeting.