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School board votes against closing Langley Secondary School

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) -Langley Secondary School will not be closing. After many months of heated debate, the school board decided to keep the existing school open and support a plan to rebuild a portion of the 1948 building.

Langley School District Board Chair Robert McFarlane says the decision against a permanent closure was supported by a strong majority. “It boiled back to a combination of the community support, and embracing this option, and belief that this would be more stable for the students and less disruptive to the students at Langley Secondary School if the reconstruction was at that location rather than closing that school and moving the students over to what is right now HD Stafford Middle School.”

He says it was more of a long-term educational and community decision than about the money. “The cost to just do a straight seismic upgrade of that school or the cost to make changes, closing Langley Secondary and re-establishing HD Stafford was about equivalent.”

The proposal also includes building a new secondary school at Willoughby Slopes. “On the Willoughby Slope it was a decision of whether to ask for a middle school or a secondary school, and so those two parts of the school district neighbour each other and those issues are connected and that’s why those two issues were taken forward side by side,” explains McFarlane.

The decision brings relief to many parents and students

Tracie Northway, a Langley Secondary School parent says she feels “relieved, very excited and heard!”

“The thing about Langley Secondary that we fought for is that it serves a very diverse group of kids. There are kids who have families that do very well and there’s a compnent of kids who are not as fortunate and struggle, so that school manages to cater all of those kids, in a way it’s really cool to have your kids in a real environment and to learn and to see how other families live, and see how teachers pull together to help. It’s a real community school,” she says.

“It would of disrupted so many special programs by closing that school and when they show them the options on where to go there’s no place where they could’ve put them,” adds Northway.

The plan to keep Langley Secondary School and build the new school will be submitted to the province.
Once approved by the province, it could be 2 to 4 years before there are any changes to LSS.