Decision made to deal with overcrowding at south Edmonton Catholic school

Monsignor William Irwin Catholic Elementary School. Kendra Slugoski, Global News

EDMONTON – The Kindergarten program at a south Edmonton Catholic school will be relocated next year as a way to deal with significant overcrowding.

Parents with kids at Monsignor William Irwin Elementary School were sent home with a letter Thursday outlining the plan for the 2015/2016 school year.

Beginning in September 2015, Kindergarten students will be relocated to Archbishop Joseph MacNeil, a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school located about 2.5 kilometres north of Monsignor William Irwin.

The other option to deal with the overcrowding was to move the Grade 6 students; both options were discussed at a meeting with parents and school officials in late January.

“The decision was really half and half,” said Lori Nagy, a spokesperson with Edmonton Catholic Schools. “It was really difficult … we had to look at a number of different reasons why we would move one over the other.”

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Nagy says it ultimately came down to the fact that Kindergarten is only a half-day, and because they’re new students they have not yet developed relationships with their peers.

Monsignor William Irwin opened in Terwillegar Towne in 2010. It was meant to accommodate 600 students, but there are currently 784 students enrolled, with about 900 expected in the next school year.

The school has been using every available space to try to accommodate the students, including the library. Nineteen portables were brought on site to help relieve the pressure, but there was simply no room left.

READ MORE: School overcrowding forces Edmonton parents to make tough decision

Edmonton Catholic Schools says the Kindergarten program will only be relocated for one year until St. John XXIII Elementary/Junior High School opens. The new school in Windermere is expected to open in the fall of 2016.

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