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Dateline Cowichan: Baby boom creates need for new schools
Earlier this month many students scattered to unfamiliar schools in the wake of district-wide configuration and school closures sparked by plummeting enrolment over the past decade.
It was a far cry from the ‘50s when the post-war baby boom filled schools to overflowing with no end in sight. In September 1954, trustees prepared a building bylaw to submit to the province for approval after ward-elected trustees lobbied for construction of much needed schools in their own areas.
Trustee George Bonner, Cobble Hill, asked for an eight or 10-room junior-senior high school for the south. However, when Bonner spoke up for small elementary school units, Trustee Don Campbell was quick to respond. “The department (of education) will not, I am sure, stand for a willy-nilly program of building one-room schools up and down the district.”
Eventually, trustees agreed on six new schools and a sports track and fence on the grounds of the three-year-old Cowichan High School.
Also included in the bylaw were new three-room schools for Sahtlam and Somenos; Koksilah and Glenora, two roomed buildings; one-room additions to Mill Bay, Bay View and Crofton; and remodelling of Sylvania. If approved by provincial government, the bylaw would go to referendum.