In Delaware County, growth is at the forefront of every leader's mind.

In Delaware County, growth is at the forefront of every leader's mind.

As the Sunbury area sees opportunities from the influx of people, Big Walnut Local School District leaders are trying to determine how to deal with it.

Due to a failed $134 million bond issue in November, Big Walnut leaders will spend the early part of 2017 finding a way to secure funding the district has said it will need to cope with increasing space constraints.

Superintendent Angie Pollock said "fulfilling the needs of all our kids" is the priority of the district, but added that concerns over growing class sizes and other solutions to overcrowding could get in the way of goals.

"We're obviously faced with the challenge that we don't have enough physical space to do that," Pollock said. "The board and administration teams are in conversation right now working on next steps for the future bond issue, including looking at a community survey. And while we did some community engagement the first time around, we want to look at different ways to engage the community and make sure we're getting meaningful feedback on what the community wants to see as a way to handle our space issues."

Despite those concerns, Pollock said the next bond issue request can't be rushed.

While there's a sense of urgency, she said the district can't simply push through the process, and that another failed issue would be more detrimental than a methodical approach.

"I would like to ... pass it quickly to where we wouldn't feel a big pinch with growth, but because we were not successful at this point, I think we need to take a step back and be sure we're putting the right plan forward to voters," she said. "I think it's more important that we take time to do that right rather than rush something on again and not be successful again and not be even further behind."

But Pollock warned that growth can't be the only focus for the district. She said parents, teachers and administrators are concerned with a holistic approach to teaching, rather than focusing too much on testing.

"Another big challenge all schools are facing right now is being able to meet the ever-changing graduation requirements and assessments," she said. "We've had three different sets of assessments in the last few years, and we're trying to get to where we have a better grasp on what we need to do to prepare kids to be successful in those.

"We want to make sure we're teaching kids to succeed in life, not just teaching to a test -- but we also want to be sure we're giving them the tools they need to be successful on tests they need to graduate."

The same growth that's intimidating to the school district is exciting to municipalities who can stand to benefit from it.

Village Administrator Allen Rothermel said the village of Sunbury is "excited to see what's going on with these housing developments" that are popping up in the village, and expects one of the biggest years of growth the village has seen.

"In the past, when we've had developments, they would have a section and they'd build out that one section and go on to the next one," he said. "For 2017, we're going to have (three) sections and possibly (four) all being built at the same time, and each of them have different products -- so there will be startup homes, move-up homes and empty-nester residences all being built."

That growth isn't expected to slow down any time soon. Village staff has yet to see an official submission of plans for Northgate Centre -- a proposed 250-acre mixed-use development just east of Interstate 71 -- and other tracts of land are increasingly popular, given the area's recent development history.

"We still get multiple inquiries a week from people interested in certain sites," Rothermel said.

Rothermel said there is so much progress going on in the village that his office has to "ramp up" staffing, including the additions of at least one full-time and another part-time employee.

"Trying to keep pace with the changes is the trick," he said.

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