Three years after Centre communautaire Sainte Anne complex completed a $10.3-million expansion, the Fredericton elementary school is full and administrators are scrambling to find room for September's kindergarten class.
The new francophone school complex, which includes a daycare, elementary school and a school covering grades 6 through 12, opened its doors in 2007.
Since that time, Tanya Roy, the principal of École des Bâtisseurs, said the elementary school’s enrolment has jumped by about 20 children every year.
"When we opened the school three years ago, we had about 485 students. And we're looking at 580 next year," Roy said.
"So we grew quite fast, and we're lacking school classrooms for next year."
The school has 26 normal classrooms which are all full. It has also converted a large art room into a classroom, and teachers have agreed to combine two classes in it.
Roy said the cafeteria is also overcrowded, and the school may have to create a third lunch period to accomodate all the students.
When the kindergarten to Grade 5 school was opened, it had an announced capacity of 585.
The Au P'tit Monde de Franco day-care centre, which was expanded at the same time as the school was built, holds another 300 children from infants to school children in their afternoon programs.The daycare is also full, and parents are being put on a waiting list.
Lobbying for new school
Nathalie Comeau, the president of the parents’ support committee, said they're working on a solution to ease the strain being put on the new school.
Comeau said she wants to lobby the provincial government to find classroom space on Fredericton's north side, for incoming kindergarten students living on that side of the St. John River, which divides the capital city.
"That way kids who start kindergarten would start closer to home and hopefully in the next few years we would have a school built, and we would just continue until Grade 5 there, where they started, on the north side," Comeau said.
The District 1 Education Council did meet with the Department of Education last June, but it didn't identify the school as its top priority, choosing a new Moncton school instead which is slated to open in 2012.
Their next meeting with government won't be for two months, but the Department of Education says it will meet with the parents committee in the near future to discuss the issue and find a solution.
Fredericton isn't the only New Brunswick community struggling to find enough space for francophone students.
The Department of Education announced in March that a satellite Grade 2 classroom for francophone students would be added in the Kennebecasis Valley near Saint John.
The class would be added to the kindergarten to Grade 1 satellite classes that opened in September 2009. Although the classes are located in Quispamsis they are affiliated with Saint John's École Samuel de Champlain.
School District 1, which represents French schools between Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton, has said it hopes to have a permanent school in the Kennebecasis area by 2012.