With several new residential developments planned or proposed for the area, Grandview Heights Schools officials have redoubled their efforts to determine the potential impact a mini population boom could have on enrollment.

Residential development of any scale is rare in landlocked Grandview Heights, but new housing in Grandview Yard and elsewhere is adding to the population, which has increased from 6,518 in 2010 to an estimated 7,778 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That growth could be worrisome to a school district with only three buildings and a 2018 graduating class of just 86 students.

However, an update of an enrollment-projection study conducted in February 2018 shows the district's enrollment is expected to increase at a manageable level over the next decade.

The updated study by FutureThink, a Dublin-based consulting firm that focuses on enrollment projections and demographic studies for school districts, predicts the number of students will increase by 174 from 2017-18 through the 2027-28 school year.

The district paid $5,500 in 2016 for the enrollment-projection report, then an additional $2,555 for the 2018 update, district treasurer Beth Collier said.

The 10-year enrollment projections included in the study were developed by analyzing data, including the birth rate, historical enrollment, community demographics and housing information in the district, said Tracy Healy, FutureThink's owner and president.

But while residential development continues to rise at Grandview Yard -- M/I Homes is building 79 single-family homes on the west side of Bobcat Avenue and on both sides of West First Avenue, and Wagenbrenner Development is working on 40 homes between Burr and Williams avenues -- the additional homes are not having much of an impact on Grandview schools and are not expected to in the coming years, Healy said.

"The target market for (most of) these projects is not families with school-age children," she said.

A total of 1,096 students attended Grandview schools during the 2017-18 school year. The projected enrollment for 2027-28 is 1,270.

"The increase in enrollment is projected to be spread throughout grade levels and will take place throughout the time period," Superintendent Andy Culp said. "That's going to make it a lot easier to manage. It would be different if you saw one year where your attendance grew by 50 students in one grade level."

The projected enrollment figures for one class stand out from the rest, however.

This year's first-grade class -- whose members will graduate in 2030 -- totals 114 students. The students entered kindergarten in the 2017-18 school year.

FutureThink had projected that the kindergarten class in 2017-18 would number 90.

"It was unexpected," Healy said. "The very next year, the kindergarten enrollment has returned to a more stable and expected level for the district."

This year's kindergarten class totals 69 students, Culp said.

"How do you explain it?" he said. "The increase was an anomaly -- a one-year thing."

There are some factors that may help explain why the class of 2030 is so large, said school board Vice President Melissa Palmisciano, who serves as the board's government liaison.

"The class has five sets of twins and a set of triplets," she said, "and there were students who hadn't registered for kindergarten before the school year began and some registered late."

With the influx of kindergarten students, the district added a sixth kindergarten teacher for the 2017-18 school year.

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This year, six teachers are leading first-grade classrooms, keeping the student-teacher ratio for the class of 2030 at about 19:1, Culp said.

Stevenson Elementary School has four kindergarten teachers this year.

"It's a more pressing matter when you have an increase in the early elementary grades, because the teachers have their students all day, every day," Culp said. "In higher grades, you have more flexibility to rearrange things to accommodate more students."

No enrollment projection can be certain, Healy said.

"It's always important for a district to closely monitor the birth rates in their community, enrollment in the elementary schools and the housing market, because these are the things that can most impact future enrollment," she said. "We're recommending that the district regularly update its enrollment projections so they can know if any patterns or factors are changing.

No baby boom

Carli Lanfersiek, marketing director for Nationwide Realty Investors, the Yard's developer, agreed with FutureThink that the residential units at the Yard are not drawing many young families with children.

"Our estimate is approximately 25 to 30 school-age kids reside in Grandview Yard," she said. "The development's mix of residential options serve a broad demographic, from young professionals to empty nesters."

Grandview is a surprisingly stable market for housing, Healy said.

About 16 years ago, Healy and her husband were looking to buy a house, she said. Before settling in Dublin, they looked at Grandview as a possibility.

"There were, I think, three homes on the market when we were looking," she said. "When I started working on this study for the school district, I asked, just out of interest, how many homes were for sale currently. I think the number was four."

Like any community, Grandview will see changes in demographics over time as older homeowners downsize or move to other community and sell to younger people, Healy said.

"But over time, Grandview seems to follow a fairly stable pattern of changeover in residents," she said.

In addition to the development at the Yard, other residential projects proposed in the district include a multifamily development planned by F2 Cos. and Elford Development for the property at 2015 W. Fifth Ave. in Marble Cliff.

When Marble Cliff Village Council gave its informal approval to a concept plan and preliminary development plan for the proposed project in August, developer Ted Foster of F2 Cos. confirmed the residential project was not intended for families with children.

Instead, the developers are planning to market the Gateway at Marble Cliff to retired empty nesters, especially older adults who are seeking to remain near Marble Cliff as they downsize their living arrangements, he said.

Even with a revision of the concept, that is still the plan, Foster said, "especially given all the unsolicited emails we've received from people interested in being residents" since the project was proposed.

In their revised concept for the project, the developers proposed retaining the Frank Packard-designed mansion that has served for decades as office space and installing four to six apartments in the building.

The development would include eight townhouse units in two newly constructed three-story buildings facing Fifth Avenue, as well as a three-story apartment building containing 26 one- and two-bedroom units behind the mansion.

Village Council approved the concept plan for the development and a preliminary development plan and zoning text in August.

A more detailed development plan is expected to be presented to the village early this year.

Wagenbrenner Development's proposed vision for the mixed-use Grandview Crossing project at Grandview Avenue and Dublin Road includes some apartments in the Grandview portion, but none of the units will be marketed to residents with children, said Steve Simonetti, the company's director of development.

The 53-acre development straddles the Grandview-Columbus border, with about 16 acres in Grandview.

Along with a hotel, office and retail uses, the proposed plan for the Grandview portion includes a senior-living community and a building with 24 to 30 apartments on two floors above first-floor retail space, Simonetti said.

"We're talking about a high-end senior-living development that would be age-restricted to people who are age 55 and up, with an anticipated average age of around 70," he said.

The apartments that are proposed for above the retail space would be marketed to millennials, Simonetti said.

"The amenities and services we would be providing the residents in these proposed buildings would not the type of amenities that would appeal to families with school-age children," he said.

Wagenbrenner has built more than 750 similar units at four developments in central Ohio, each featuring the same type of amenities, Simonetti said.

"There isn't one school-age child living in any of those apartments," he said, adding the same is expected at Grandview Crossing.

The retail and residential building is planned to be built no earlier than the second phase of the Grandview Crossing project, Simonetti said.

The plan for the building could evolve if market conditions change between the first and second phases, but the adjustment would result in more office or retail space, not residential uses, he said.

Even with the tax abatements proposed for the Grandview portion of Grandview Crossing, the project is expected to generate more than $15 million in tax revenue for the school district, according to preliminary estimations, Simonetti said.

"And that's with the expectation that we will not be adding any students to the district," he said.

A proposed new development south of Goodale Boulevard also is expected to include some apartments, though no formal plan exists.

Ready for more

District leaders say they'll keep watching for new development, and they already have adopted a proactive stance.

The district is using the enrollment study as a way to help make sure its staffing and buildings will be able to accommodate the number of students in various grade levels, Culp said.

Last year, voters approved a $55.25 million facilities plan that will lead to the construction of a new building for grades 4 to 8 on the current site of Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School, substantial improvements to Grandview Heights High School and construction of a connector between the high school and the new 4-8 building. Stevenson Elementary School also will see safety and security upgrades and will be brought into ADA compliance.

The plan calls for the new 4-8 building to be more flexible in how it can be used to adjust to potential enrollment changes, he said.

The connector building that will be constructed between the high school and new 4-8 building also will be able to be used to address any additional space needs that arise, Culp said.

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