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Burnaby school district seeking input on Lougheed 'tower school' idea

A school in a Lougheed condo tower would act as an annex to Cameron Elementary, with the two sites sharing a playground and sports field, according to one possible strategy being floated by the school district to deal with development-driven overcrowding.

The Burnaby school district is looking for public input on a new way to deal with development-driven overcrowding at one of its elementary schools.

Cameron Elementary School is bursting at the seams, according to school district data, and the pace of development in the Lougheed town centre only promises to make things worse.

The school has a 298-student operating capacity but already had 417 students enrolled last year.

Without a solution to the overcrowding, the district projects Cameron would be operating at more than twice its capacity by 2028, with an estimated 616 students.

The province has approved a study to look at “the best strategy for Cameron,” according to school district secretary-treasurer Russell Horswill.

He told the school board last week the study should be complete within about six weeks.

As part of its long-range planning, however, the district is also looking for public feedback on possible strategies to address the Cameron problem.

As in Brentwood, there is a lack of available land in the Lougheed town centre for a new school, so one possible option involves putting a school in one of the new condo towers going up in the area.

The so-called “tower school” would act as an annex to Cameron Elementary, and the two sites would share a playground and sports field, according to the district.

Another option would be to ask the province for a full replacement of Cameron with a “new design to support expansion for future growth.”

The district is hosting an in-person session on Feb. 15 to get public input on those ideas and other facilities-related issues in the Cariboo Lougheed Zone – including ways to deal with a big projected enrolment increase driven by development plans in the Bainbridge area.

The Feb. 15 event is part of a series of drop-in sessions the district is hosting as it updates its long-range facilities plan.

There was a session on the Central West Zone last Wednesday, and another on the Kingsway South Zone is scheduled for tonight (Feb. 1).

The Brentwood North Zone will be the focus of a Feb. 22 session.

All the sessions take place at the district administration office (4054 Norfolk Street) between 5 and 8 p.m.

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Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com