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New West Bedford school already close to exceeding capacity

By Caitlin Snow Apr 19, 2024 | 1:09 PM

The population of HRM is growing and it is having a big impact on schools, especially in the area of West Bedford.

Less than one year after opening, West Bedford High School and West Bedford School are already near capacity and expected to exceed their limits in September.

The two schools share the same building.

According to Lindsey Bunin, Communications Officer for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE), the cap is 2,000 students.

However, the school is already at 1,795 students with more than 2,100 expected by September and 2,300 by 2025.

To mitigate the impacts this has and ease enrollment, in a statement to our newsroom, Bunin says The Department of Education and Early Childhood (EECD) has approved two modular structures on the school grounds.

They will have a total of 12 classrooms and accommodate 300-360 people and will be equipped with ventilation, heating and technology.

Modulars are also connected by common hallways and include washrooms and because of these things, Bunin says, they are more permanent structures than portables.

She adds although West Bedford is feeling a population boom the most, it is an issue in schools across HRM.

“We are actively working with EECD to address growth pressures here and throughout the region. In addition to the modulars for West Bedford, we will also be adding an eight-classroom modular unit at Charles P. Allen High and one at Fairview Junior High.”

Other measures they have taken over the past six years include:

  • Opened five new schools
  • Added 141 modular classrooms
  • Made use of 60 portable classrooms
  • Reconfigured more than 50 schools
  • There are also three schools under construction and four more have been announced with the locations still to be determined.

Minister of Education Becky Druhan says as communities grow it is a ‘necessity’ to have more space available and supports using modulars.

“One of the incredible things about modulars is that school communities love them. They are amazing educational environments…they are an annex to the existing educational space.”

Druhan says they recognize they need to flexible when it comes to capital planning and in this case-due to the need-modular classrooms can be put up in a matter of months.

The structures at West Bedford School are expected to be ready by the fall.