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portables at Moncton High School Image: submitted by Susie MacDow

Portables won’t alleviate MHS overcrowding concerns, PSSC says

By Tara Clow May 9, 2024 | 1:04 PM

Concerns from Moncton High parents over the addition of more portables.

Over 1600 students are enrolled at the school, with a capacity of 1230.

Parent School Support Committee member Susie MacDow says four portables are being added for a total of 16, “Primarily we’re hitting a point where we’re getting concerned about safety. With roughly 30 kids in each class, we’re talking hundreds of extra students. If there was an incident, can we evacuate safely? That would be a top concern for all parents, staff and students.”

Moncton High has been open since 2016.  It was built for around 1230 students, but currently it has a population of over 1600.

“What I hear from students, when it’s class change time, and everyone is in the hallways, you’re just kind of being pushed. You just have to follow the crowd. You could never actually stop and tie your shoes or talk to your friend. That kind of thing is almost impossible because the hallways are so incredibly crowded,” MacDow adds.

Moncton High classroom Image: submitted by Susie MacDow

portables at Moncton High School
Image: submitted by Susie MacDow

Two new K to 12 schools, one in Shediac and another in Dieppe have received approval from the provincial government and are expected to assist in alleviating overcrowding issues at Moncton High.

“They will alleviate approximately 800 students from the building. They are currently in the preliminary stages of design,” Anglophone East School District Spokesperson Stephanie Patterson told our newsroom in an email.

MacDow says that is good news, but realistically, it could be three to five years before they are built. She’s concerned about what Moncton High will do in the meantime.

“Adding portable after portable to Moncton High School is just not a feasible solution. I mean, we’ll be at 16 next year. If you do some light math, and the new schools are built in three or four years, and we’re adding at a rate of two or three portables a year, we could be up to 26 portables,” MacDow says.

She feels encouraged that the School District has listened to the PSSC and Superintendent Randolph MacLEAN plans to attend their next meeting.

“I think there are some short-term solutions that we can come up with until the new schools are built. They’ve talked about looking at boundaries because we have Moncton High at 34 per cent over capacity and other schools in the district under capacity, but nothing has actually been done at this point.”