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New south Langford elementary school won't have artificial turf field

Construction tender for the new school went out this week without lighted turf field promised by former mayor Stew Young
The site of a new elementary school on Latoria Road and Klahanie Drive. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

It’s lights out for now on an artificial-turf field for an elementary school set to be constructed in south Langford.

The construction tender for the as-yet-unnamed school went out this week, said Sooke School Board chair Ravi Parmar, but the District of Langford hasn’t responded to questions about a commitment from former mayor Stew Young to put $950,000 into a lighted turf field at the facility.

Young was voted out of office in October.

Parmar said the lights would help make the field a community amenity by allowing it to be used more extensively, while a turf facility “benefits our students because they’re not playing on muddy fields.”

“We live in a rainforest climate.”

Parmar said without Langford’s input, the board opted to go ahead with a grass field instead.

He said Langford could still come to the table but it would involve changing the terms of the construction tender.

Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson said the field was discussed in the past but the issue has never come to council or gone through city staff.

It was brought up in the municipality’s five-year budget plan, but nothing has been decided, he said.

There are many budget items, like hiring more firefighters and police officers, that have been taking time to consider, Goodmanson said. “There’s a list of other items that have still yet to come.”

He said that there is a possibility lights could eventually be installed on a grass facility.

The new school will be on Latoria Road near Klahanie Drive and cost $39.6 million, with funding announced last June. It’s due to open in 2025 with space for 480 students, along with a neighbourhood learning centre and child-care space.

The announcement of who will build the school will be made after spring break, Parmar said, and construction is expected to begin in the second half of May.

West Shore-based Draycor Construction Ltd., which has the the civil contract for the project, began levelling and grading work at the school site in January.

The school board recently asked for name suggestions for the new school. It’s also consulting with Indigenous communities as part of the process.

The fast-growing Sooke School District has plans for another two elementary schools in the Bear Mountain and Royal Bay areas, and a site has been acquired for a future secondary school on McCallum Road, near Costco.

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