A Reynoldsburg high school enrollment dilemma has school leaders scrambling for a fast solution to a big problem -- more than 1,400 students want to attend the Summit Road high school campus in the fall, putting it about 200 students over capacity.

A Reynoldsburg high school enrollment dilemma has school leaders scrambling for a fast solution to a big problem -- more than 1,400 students want to attend the Summit Road high school campus in the fall, putting it about 200 students over capacity.

"This problem needs to be fixed right away -- like yesterday," eSTEM Academy Principal Scott Bennett said. "How do we accommodate growing student numbers at the Summit campus so that all students continue to get their first choice of academy?"

School leaders held two public forums last week, one April 5 at the Summit Road school campus and on April 7 at the Livingston Avenue campus, to present information and answer questions from parents, teachers and students.

Bennett said 72 percent of incoming freshmen chose Encore or eSTEM Academy to attend next school year; both are housed on the Summit Road campus. If those students were accommodated, that high school would have an enrollment of 1,400 students.

"That campus was built to house 1,200 students, so it would be well over capacity," Bennett said.

Only 28 percent of incoming freshmen chose to attend the Livingston campus this fall, which houses BELL Academy and (HS)2 Academy. Current enrollment at Livingston is 766 students, but the building can hold about 1,000 students, Bennett said.

eSTEM Academy includes science, technology, engineering and math pathways; Encore includes career pathways in art, design, communication and performing arts; BELL Academy is for students interested in business, education, leadership and law; and (HS)2 Academy includes career pathways in medical, health and sciences fields.

Solutions suggested by district leaders include putting temporary modular units at Summit Road; moving eSTEM Academy to the Livingston campus and BELL to the Summit Road campus to make Livingston a dedicated STEM high school; or restricting buildings to a certain grade level, such as housing freshmen and sophomores at Summit Road and juniors and seniors at Livingston.

Bennett said district principals are facing a "scheduling nightmare."

"We have not yet been able to notify eighth-graders about scheduling information because we don't know how much space we will have," he said.

He said the current Summit Road campus enrollment is at 1,207 students.

"We are already at capacity," he said.

Bennett and Encore Academy Principal Jocelyn Cosgrave presented information on all four academies at the public forums.

Enrollment at Encore was 546 students in the 2013-14 school year; 590 the next year and 561 this year. eSTEM Academy had 547 students in 2013; 603 in 2014 and 646 this school year.

On the Livingston campus, however, enrollment has been either steady or decreasing. BELL students numbered 387 in 2013; 420 in 2014 and 347 this school year. (HS)2 Academy had 488 students in 2013; 424 in 2014 and 419 this school year.

Cosgrave said the Summit campus is already too crowded.

"Even right now, when we have more than 30 seniors leaving campus to take college courses, we still do not have enough classroom space," she said. "Our lunchrooms are unbelievably crowded. Even if we do modular, we would have to figure out how to add more lunch periods."

Some of the parents attending the enrollment meetings thought modular units were a bad idea, considering the fact the Summit campus was built just a few years ago. They said the Summit buildings "still have that new-car scent" and wanted to know "what is wrong with just saying no to students?" or having a lottery type system.

"Well, where do you draw the lines?" school board President Joe Begeny asked. "Who gets to stay and who gets to go? We have STEM at elementary and middle school levels, so parents want to put their kids in STEM schools to continue STEM programming."

Moving the academies did not seem the best choice to many parents whose children already attend the Summit campus, which already has an eSTEM Fab Lab built and mostly funded by Battelle and a large Performing Arts Center.

Begeny said school board members would consider all feedback from the forums and answers from an online survey. The district also may hold another public forum before making a decision.

"I'd like to have a decision by the first of May," he said.