B.C.'s tiniest public school slated to close

Field Elementary — with a current student population of three — will close its doors for good at the end of June.

With only 3 students this year, and just 1 registered for next, Field Elementary will close for good in June

Field Elementary School's last three students (left to right): Thomas Cais, Abigail Lay and Axel Cameron with teacher Madame Rebecka. (Craig Chapman)

School's out forever at B.C.'s tiniest public school.

Field Elementary — with a current student population of three — will close its doors for good at the end of June. Field is located just inside the B.C-Alberta border, 80 kilometres from Banff along the Trans Canada Highway.

Rocky Mountain School Superintendent Paul Carrier says only a single student was registered for next school year, leaving the school board with no option. 

"Even at three [students] it's kind of an equity of resource issue to deploy a teacher for that few students," said Carrier.

Field, B.C., with a population of 170, is nestled in the Rocky Mountains about 80 kilometres west of Banff. (www.field.ca)

The announcement of the closure has been greeted with sadness by current and former Field residents. 

"That's one of the reasons we moved here. We've raised three kids through that school," said Craig Chapman, chairman of the Field Community Council.

On the Village of Field Facebook page John Coffman commented, "Sad indeed. This was such a unique school. Where else could you be greeted by a dog, go on a hike in the mountains and have such great Xmas concerts."

Chapman says losing the school is a blow to the town of 170 people.

"That's what really hurts in Field with these changes," he said. "We see ourselves becoming more of a service centre and less of a community."

Primary school students in Field will be bussed 60 kilometres west to Golden starting next school year, which is what high school students from the town have done for years.

The school board says it will keep the school building and gym for community use.

With files from Bob Keating


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