Delaware News

Plan: Move students from Willis, expand Hayes

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Solutions are surfacing for the overcrowding and increased enrollment projections in the Delaware City School District.

The school board adopted a revised master plan at its regular board meeting Monday, Oct. 15, that will guide the district through the next three years.

The plan included details on how to deal with the increased enrollment figures as well as the current overcrowding in the schools.

Those plans include Dempsey Middle School's absorbtion of the 409 sixth-grade students from Willis Intermediate School, with the five elementary schools absorbing the 461 fifth-grade students from Willis.

In order to make this happen, the district is seeking a statement of qualifications from architectural firms, which will come up with ways to expand Dempsey and the current elementary schools.

The firms must have their reports in by Nov. 1 so the board can discuss moving forward at its Nov. 19 meeting, district leaders said.

In addition, district officials said they would like to expand Hayes High School to accommodate increased enrollment and renovate the transportation center to accommodate additional buses, staff and garage service space.

"This is a conservative plan that allows us to use existing sites, expand resources and help our students not have to change schools as often," said Larry Davis, director of facilities and transportation.

Davis said if the district were to pursue building a new school, it would be in the $60 million to $75 million range. This route will be a fraction of the cost of a new school, he said.

"If we were to build, say, a new high school, that still wouldn't address the other issues in the rest of the schools," Davis said. "This plan allows us to address all the issues."

The plan subsequently would free up Willis to become an alternative learning center, as well as house all the administrative offices.

Davis said other ideas for the building, sections of which are more than 125 years old, include a community resource center, such as Woodward Resource Center, or a Habitat for Humanity branch.

According to the district's master plan, construction would begin next year and renovations would be complete by 2017.

The district also has updated its website to include a "Facilities" section. Here, the district will update the community on facilities projects on a regular basis, leaders said.

Davis said due to the high enrollment figures and recent energy conservation projects, district residents have been calling and asking for updates.

"We will have a log of projects on the website, which will be convenient and accessible to the general public to see what we're working on," he said. "This is a great opportunity for the public."

 

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