Modular classroom at Penfield not being used for kindergarten

A brand-new modular classroom at Penfield Elementary is not being used to accommodate full-day kindergarten as intended.

A brand-new modular classroom at Penfield Elementary is not being used to accommodate full-day kindergarten as intended.

Instead it’s being leased by an out-of-school childcare program which has taken up residence in the classroom since the beginning of September.

“Given an enrolment decline at Penfield Elementary, there was unanticipated space within the actual school building,” said Jennifer Patrick, School District 72 spokesperson.

“The principal (Steve Koebel) made the decision that it would therefore be beneficial to house the kindergarten students within the building, instead of the modular classroom.”

The modular classroom, which is larger than a conventional classroom, energy efficient, brightly coloured and well-lit, is one of nine the provincial government assigned to Campbell River schools.

The province committed about $1.9 million for two modular classrooms at

École Willow Point, two at Ocean Grove, two at Penfield, two at Pinecrest and one at Sandowne school.

School districts had to determine last year how many modular classrooms they would need, which could mean School District 72 may end up with more surplus classrooms. “The commitment deadline for the number of modular classrooms school districts anticipated needing was prior to the Board of Education’s decision to change our elementary school configuration to Grades K-5,” Patrick said. “Given the configuration change and the district’s continuing projected decline in enrolment, there could be more instances where modular classrooms are being used for other purposes.”

In the event classroom space is not being used, as is the case at Penfield school, the Ministry of Education allows school districts to use their discretion in allocating space as long as educational purposes are given first priority.

“As the school principal deemed that the school had no immediate use for the space, a lease arrangement of this kind ties into the district’s second strategic goal of “Enhanced Community Connections,” as it further supports families within our community and early learning activities,” Patrick said.

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