Dublin Villager

Capacity re-evaluation returns three options to address crowding

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After re-evaluating capacity at Dublin's elementary schools, the district is looking at three different options to deal with crowding.

The Dublin City School District Board of Education was last week presented with three different options to deal with crowded schools that included redistricting, building a new elementary school at Bright Road or adding classrooms to five elementary schools.

District enrollment specialists Joe Riedel and Ralph Feasel looked at the capacity of Dublin's elementary schools, taking into account special services that take classroom space for the latest recommendations.

"Some buildings have more students needing these services than others," Riedel said, adding that Wright Elementary School has 200 English Language Learning students while other schools only have 15.

After looking at services needed at Wright, for example, Feasel concluded the capacity for the school should be 626 instead of 650.

"You'd be hard stretched to have 650," Feasel said.

According to new capacity numbers, two more rooms are needed at Chapman Elementary School, three at Indian Run Elementary School, four at Riverside Elementary School and two at Thomas Elementary School this fall.

By 2016 an additional one room will be needed at Chapman, two at Glacier Ridge Elementary School, two more at Riverside and two at Wright.

"For next fall we need ... 11 rooms," Riedel said.

There are extra rooms at some elementary schools, but the "available rooms aren't actually where we need them," Feasel said.

To deal with overcrowding at the schools, Feasel and Riedel offered three solutions:

• Some students would be moved from Riverside to Indian Run and some students at Indian Run would be shifted to Bailey Elementary School.

• The second plan would have the district construct a 13th elementary school on district-owned property on Bright Road. The new school would be in one area of the district that is seeing growth, but attendance areas would be shifted.

• In the third option, the district would add classrooms at Chapman, Glacier Ridge, Riverside, Pinney and Scottish Corners elementary schools.

The first option would cost nothing, but would be a temporary solution, Riedel said.

The second option would utilize $14.5 million in bond funds approved by voters in 2008 for a 13th elementary school.

The option, however, would require $1.9 million annually for operating costs at the new school.

Construction for the third option would cost $7 to $8 million, but District Business Affairs Director Annette Morud said the district could go to voters and ask them to approve redirecting 2008 bond funds to build the additions.

Operating costs for the additions would be $350,000 annually.

"There are pretty significant savings by doing the additions over a new school," Morud said.

The bond funds could also go to adding more space at Jerome High School, which is also crowded, Superintendent Todd Hoadley said.

The district could roll forward with building Elementary 13 on Bright Road without voter approval, but it would cause redistricting, Hoadley said.

"We wanted to bring this to you tonight for your thoughts and come back in June and have a discussion," Hoadley told board members, adding that he'd like a decision made by the end of summer.

Although nothing can be done in time for the 2014-15 school year, grade levels at some schools will be capped.

Assistant Superintendent Michael Trego said three sections were capped for the 2013-14 school year, but last week four sections were capped and more could come.

According to the caps, no more students will be able to enter the fifth grade at Chapman, first or fifth grade at Glacier Ridge or second grade at Wyandot.

New students will be placed in other schools.

"There are three other classrooms on the watch list," Trego said.

"The goal is not to add sections at any elementary schools, but move students."

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