Lantzville in favour of private school’s plans for expansion

NANAIMO – Aspengrove School in Lantzville is preparing to expand.

Aspengrove School in Lantzville is preparing to expand.

The private school has applied to the District of Lantzville for a zoning bylaw amendment to allow an increase in the maximum student enrolment from 250 students to 350 students.

“We’re just being proactive because we don’t want that to become an issue,” said Zinda FitzGerald, head of the school. “We’re just on the cusp for our student numbers.”

Aspengrove hopes to begin offering the International Baccalaureate diploma program for Grades 11 and 12 students next fall and if it receives authorization to deliver the program – the school is undergoing a rigorous approval process – she expects enrolment will increase, as it is a well-regarded program.

“We had our verification visit in February,” said FitzGerald. “We are poised, ready to launch, as soon as we get that green light. We’re hoping people will find that exciting.”

The school already offers two IB programs: primary years for junior kindergarten to Grade 5 and the middle years program from Grades 6-10. Adding the senior program means the school can join a handful of others across the province offering an IB education from age three to graduation.

The district approved the second reading of the bylaw amendment earlier this month and Aspengrove staff are working with district staff on one of the conditions of approval – establishing a public trail crossing the school property.

The other condition is placing ‘no parking’ signs on the Aspengrove side of Clark Drive.

As for the traffic and parking concerns brought up at a public information meeting in February, FitzGerald said changes were made last year to the property to accommodate more parking, start times are staggered, there are two access points and there is a three-bus transportation program.

Lantzville Mayor Jack de Jong said he’s happy with plans for expansion because it helps put the district on the map.

“They have a big job ahead of them and Lantzville doesn’t want to stand in the way of their success,” he said.