Kitimat City High to be moved under MEMSS’ roof

Kitimat City High will share the building of Kitimat's middle/secondary school starting in September.

Kitimat City High, which currently runs out of the former Cormorant Elementary School building, will be moving to under the roof of Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School.

The change is expected to go into effect September 2014, at the beginning of the next school year.

Coast Mountain School Board Chair Art Erasmus said that the school board has had the idea of moving the school in the back of mind for a few years but the decision to actually move it is a new one.

“We’ve had conversations as to what to do with Kitimat City High…and coming to grips with how best to serve the kids given our current and foreseeable enrolment and the availability of facilities and programs for kids,” he said. “It’s not a new discussion but it’s a new decision.”

The school in its new facility will still retain existing staff and counselling, he said, but did say that the new school wouldn’t need its own independent principal.

In total the move will affect the 45 enrolled students at KCH. Erasmus said on most days only about 15 are in attendance.

Their specific programs will be kept, he said.

“A broader program will be available to them in addition to what we were able to offer them at the smaller building.”

He said that’s because of the resources that will become available sharing a roof with MEMSS.

“Because they’re going to be in the bigger school they’ll have access to additional things they don’t have in their small school which includes counselling, which includes some shop courses…” said Erasmus.

He said that MEMSS has a total capacity of 1,400 students and so the move makes sense to take advantage of the extra space. There are only about 550 students there now, he said.

A letter from school district Superintendent Nancy Wells to parents said the decision addresses a number of “barriers” to KCH students, including: lack of resources for changing school population, the need to provide programs for younger students, varied supports needed to meet complex student needs, and a facility that currently not able to provide a “full range of programs”.

Erasmus said there are no board motions relating to this move as it would not be needed because this change is effectively only moving school programs, not altering them.

Kitimat City High originally began in 1974, out of a house on Skeena Street where it was just known as the alternative school. The school moved into the former Cormorant Elementary School in 2008.

If you are a parent of a student at Kitimat City High, and would like to speak on the record about what you think about this move, please call Cameron at 250-632-6144, or e-mail newsroom@northernsentinel.com.

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