Increasing student population causing space issue at Valleyview Secondary

By Jill Sperling
October 5, 2016 - 1:19pm Updated: October 5, 2016 - 5:36pm

KAMLOOPS — With its ever increasing enrollment, Valleyview Secondary School is facing the problem of overcrowding.

You wouldn't know the school is overcrowded when the students are tucked away in their classrooms, but when the bell rings the halls are suddenly teeming with youth. 

The school did not anticipate the kind of growth they've witnessed this fall. Sixty new students walked through the door, increasing the student population to 950, which is approximately 200 students more than what the school was originally designed to accommodate.

"It's put a lot of pressure on space, we have six portables on property, they're all fully used," Principal Barb Hamblett said. "It also means taking some unconventional spaces and using those. For example, we have an English class that's taking place in the music room so that means kids have to set up desks at the beginning of the class, go through their whole class, and then tear everything apart so that we can have a regular band class working afterwards." 

Hamblett is new to the school this year and says she's been impressed with how well the students cope in the cramped environment.

"You can feel when it's break time that there's lots of kids within the hallway, but they really use the space respectfully, and they treat each other respectfully, and the staff, it's a really good feel at the school," she said.

For now, students are functioning well within the available portables and classroom space, but they are making sacrifices in other areas.

"One third of our students are sharing lockers, and that can really start having an effect, I think, long term on kids," Hamblett said. "We're not seeing it right now, but everybody likes to have their own space. I think that's more where you see it. It's not so much what's taking place in the classroom, what's going on in the classroom is good stuff, really good stuff." 

The population of Valleyview is increasing rapidly, but School District 73 Superintendent Alison Sidow says there are a few options for easing the strain of overcrowding.

"One is we can look at catchment areas, and shift catchment areas and move students to different schools," Sidow said. "The challenge with that is Sahali is also very full and South Kamloops, so we don't have a lot of options before us. The only real option is to add additional portable, and while that's not ideal it may be our reality for the next few years." 

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