school daze 

Planning cash coming for new Whistler elementary Not only is the Howe Sound School District board of trustees looking at finding space for a second Whistler elementary school, they are already planning for a third. According to Doug Courtice, pressure on elementary school space in the north end of the district is increasing as both Myrtle Philip Community School and Signal Hill Elementary in Pemberton opened their doors to above-capacity crowds of students last week. The board of trustees went over their capital plans for the 1996-97 school year on Wednesday and Courtice says it looks like Signal Hill is being recommended for expansion and Whistler will be finding space for two new elementary schools. "If we are going to have people looking for a site for a second elementary in Whistler, we might as well have the same people look at a couple of sites," Courtice says. The Howe Sound School District continues to be one of the fastest growing in B.C. According to Courtice, the building of a new Secondary School in Whistler creates new educational spaces in the district — so the board has to plan accordingly. At Myrtle Philip Community School, 448 students have registered for class so far and Principal Mike Edwards says administrators were using 450 as a planning number — so they are in pretty good shape despite the fact the four-year-old facility was designed for 350 students. Myrtle Philip Community School has grown by 50 students over last year. This year, 74 students are registered for Kindergarten classes and only attend school half days. Edwards says Myrtle Philip staff and students are handling the increased pressure very well. Despite some crowded buses and crowded classrooms everything is operating under the recommended limits. The bus running south from the school may have to do two runs each afternoon — the first to Whistler Creek, then back to the school to pick up students that have to go south of Creekside. "The problem with running over capacity is all of the normal problems you encounter when school starts seem to be a little more complex," he says. "When you do scheduling for a computer lab, a library, a gymnasium and other rooms with more students than normal all of a sudden nothing works easily." Edwards is extending kudos to the teachers and staff at Myrtle Philip for making the hectic start of the year go off almost without a hitch. According to Courtice the growth of the district does not seem to be slowing down and the $45 million worth of construction just completed or underway in the district is a sign that the Ministry of Education is recognizing the growth in the Sea to Sky Corridor.

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