Dublin Villager

Projections show need for elementary school space

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Dublin City School District will face some growing pains over the next few years.

The Dublin Board of Education this week got an update about enrollment that showed seven of 12 elementary schools will be over capacity by 2016.

The district looks at enrollment for about three years into the future, said Annette Morud, district director of business affairs, because anything further would not be as accurate.

Enrollment projections for 2016 show the most growth for Dublin elementary schools in the eastern and southern areas of the district.

"The biggest concern would be Riverside (Elementary School)," said District Planner Joe Riedel, adding that the school's capacity is 400 and enrollment in December 2013 was 491. Enrollment projections for 2016 show 553 students at the school.

"These principals must work magic to make them fit," Riedel said.

Other schools experiencing growth are Chapman Elementary School where many homes have been purchased, and Olde Sawmill, Wright and Thomas elementary schools where many apartments are in the attendance area.

"We have grown five elementary schools out of apartments," Riedel said.

According to information from the district, apartments and condominiums account for 22.4 percent of district students, which is an increase of 5 percent from five years ago.

"There are more than 14,000 apartment units available in the district and many apartment complexes are at full occupancy," a news release from the district said.

The northwest area of the district is also due to see some growth. Glacier Ridge enrollment is projected to climb from 592 in 2013 to 642 in 2016. The school's capacity is 550 students.

Voters passed a bond issue in 2008 to build a 13th elementary school in Jerome Village in the northwest corner of the district, but the school has not yet been built because the Jerome Village development has not grown as quickly as originally anticipated.

"In the northwest we're growing by about 100 homes per year," Riedel said.

Enrollment for elementary schools in the middle of the district is stagnant or declining in some cases. Bailey Elementary School, for example, had an enrollment for 2013 of 508 that is expected to decline to 472 by 2016.

Despite slow growth or a decline at a few elementary schools, most are experiencing growth and seven are expected be over capacity by 2016.

"You're going to need some space," Riedel said.

"The question is, how are you going to do that?"

Staff is currently in discussions about how to deal with enrollment growth in the district and is expected to bring both short- and long-term solutions to the board of education in March, Morud said.

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