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Glenwood hopes to be next community hub

Glenwood Elementary School principal Jovo Bikic. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Glenwood Elementary School principal Jovo Bikic.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

Maple Ridge’s Glenwood Elementary School is hoping to become the district’s next community services hub, by bringing a wide range of programs under its roof.

Glenwood principal Jovo Bikic said he hopes bringing in more community programs to the school will give the kids there more opportunities, and increase the surrounding community’s connection with Glenwood elementary.

“We want Glenwood to be a welcoming place for the entire community,” he said. “Its sort of like this hidden gem.”

The school has seen its fair share of changes in recent years.

The school escaped being closed by the school district due to low enrollment, and with the closure of nearby Mt. Crescent Elementary last year instead, the school has seen its enrollment jump from 160 students to 280 students this year.

“It has really revitalized and brought new energy to the school,” said Bikic.

He’s hoping the addition of community programming at the school will have a similar effect.

The school already houses a private daycare and preschool, as well as a B.C. StrongStart early education centre.

As an inner-city school, the more options available to students there the better, he says.

“This is a school that has its vulnerabilities,” says Bikic. “The kids here don’t have the same lives as kids in other communities ... and we want to give those kids all sorts of opportunities.”

The district has received conditional approval for a $25,000 grant to help develop the community hub at the school from the School Community Connections Program, jointly administered by the provincial Ministry of Education, the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and B.C. School Trustees’ Association.

Laurie Meston, the district’s elementary director of instruction, said the community hub at Glenwood would likely be smaller than the one currently at Eric Langton Elementary School in Maple Ridge.

That school is home to the HIVE Neighbourhood Centre, which opened in 2009.

The school has a designated a common space for kids and adults to use free or low-cost programs and services, such as community kitchens, and community clothing exchanges.

“The Hive is the epitome of what can be done if the entire community comes together to work towards quality opportunities for our children,” school district superintendent Jan Unwin said at the official ribbon cutting of the Hive Neighbourhood Centre in Dec. 2009.

Bikic said the process is still in its early stages, and doesn’t know what programs would likely come under Glenwood’s roof.

He says the school plans to consult with parents about what they envision for the school.

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