Land for new K thru 12 school in Forest approved

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The closure of Aberarder School in Plympton-Wyoming is one step closer today.

The provincial government has given approval to the Lambton-Kent District School Board to purchase land near the arena complex in Forest for a new Kindergarten to Grade 12 school which will combine Aberarder Central School, Bosanquet Central School, Kinnwood Central School in Forest and North Lambton Secondary School.

The Lambton-Kent District School Board has been looking at reducing the number of schools in the region since 2016. The number of students attending the schools at the time had dropped steadily. North Lambton Secondary School is by far the smallest school in Lambton with 535 students today in building which can hold nearly 900. The board is projecting by 2024 there will be 577 students there. In 2016, Aberarder was projected to have just 78 students by 2026. In June the board projected that would now be 141 students by 2024

Plympton-Wyoming council asked the board of education to consider letting students from the Aberarder Central School go to the Errol Road School in Camlachie. That request was turned down with administration saying 75 per cent of the Aberarder students had chosen to go to Forest for high school anyway.

Projections by the board of education show the school will have 284 students by 2024 – a 149 per cent occupancy rate.

Monday, the Ministry of Education gave the purchase of land for the k thru 12 school merging the five schools the green light. Board officials called it an “exciting step” in the process.

Three years ago, the Ministry of Education announced a $27.4 million investment in the LKDSB to build a new Kindergarten to Grade 12 school in Forest along with a two room Child and Family Centre and a one-room child care centre which will provide 24 new child care spaces. Since the announcement, the LKDSB has been working with the Ministry to acquire a property for the new school.

The timeline for completion of the Kindergarten to Grade 12 school is still to be determined.

Senior Administration will work with Principals and School Council Chairs to establish a Naming Committee.