Skip to content

Delta throwback: A junior high school opens

Back in the days when the school district could barely keep up with the influx of students
Taught by Steve Hannah, the Grade 8 basic guitar class at Sands Junior Secondary in 1974.

Let’s go back to September of 1974 when the new Sands Junior Secondary in North Delta welcomed its first students.

Not all classrooms were ready for pupils as the school was not completed. The junior high school’s gymnasium and other facilities were still under construction at the time.

Following the opening of the George Massey Tunnel, Delta experienced tremendous growth in the 1960s and 70s that was reflected in a burgeoning student population.

Many homes were being constructed, large numbers of families were moving to Delta and new schools were needed to keep pace.

The year prior, in 1973/74, the new South Delta Senior Secondary opened.

By September of 1973, the student population jumped to 16,500, an increase of 1,320 from the previous year.

That year, district secretary treasurer Miles Adam, who had been pushing for a $7 million “critical referendum” to build 90 elementary and 30 secondary classrooms, again warned the district would be forced to resort to shifts or have a continuous school year.

By September of 1975, there were 17,865 students in the district, but there were also early indications the red-hot growth would start to cool down.

That year, the Ministry of Education projected Delta’s enrolment would grow by no more than 1,700 over the next six years, contrasting sharply to what had taken place over the past decade-and-a-half.

In 1980, Delta reached a student enrolment of 18,763, which turned out to be the all-time high for the school district.