Capital Project Committee looks at enrollment projections, capacity, and building conditions

Notes from the committee’s Jan. 24 meeting

This year, the 40-plus member Capital Project Community Advisory Committee is working with the district architects and a consultant who is conducting a program delivery study, which could potentially identify different school configuration options. The committee’s overall charge is to develop a long-term capital project recommendations that address existing infrastructure needs, accommodate the district’s program vision, and addresses a projected increase in enrollment and lack of existing capacity.

Enrollment Projections

Dr. Paul Seversky, a consultant with SES Study Group, shared draft updated enrollment projections. While extensive data and analysis go into the projections, a significant aspect of the methodology is the pattern of kindergarten enrollment in comparison with birth data for the district five years earlier. The data shows that people with preschool and school-age children tend to move into the district after the child(ren) are born: Kindergarten enrollment is consistently higher than birth data five years earlier.

The enrollment projections contain a low-, mid-, and high-range scenario five years out for grades K-6; eight years out for grades 7-8, and ten years out for grades 9-12. In each of the scenarios, enrollment is estimated to increase from its current level (2208 students in K-6; 652 students in 7-8; and 1395 students in 9-12.).

  • 2023 Projection – Grades K-6; 2295 to 2570 students (estimated plus 87 low to 362 high over 2018 enrollment)
  • 2026 Projection – Grades 7-8; 777 to 796 students (estimated plus 125 low to 144 high over 2018 enrollment)
  • 2028 Projection – Grades 9-12: 1,608 to 1,628 students (estimated plus 213 to 233 high over 2018 enrollment)

The complete study is currently in draft form, and will be published for the community once it is finalized.

Capacity Study

Dr. Seversky also shared a working draft of a study of existing capacity and utilization in the district. It shows that between 90 and 98 percent of existing capacity is being utilized in the elementary schools, nearly 90 percent of overall middle school capacity is in use, and 99 percent of high school capacity is currently being utilized. See the individual building breakdowns below.
Dr. Seversky has said that using about 90 percent of available capacity is considered a best practice. This provides flexibility for some modest growth and space for programmatic adjustments/initiatives. By this measure, nearly all of the schools do not have enough capacity.

This data is important because it shows that the district will need more space, especially given the enrollment projections. It is also likely to factor into the study Dr. Seversky is charged with preparing – identifying doable program delivery options based on the district’s vision and anticipated growth.

Current Capacity Utilization by Building (based on current program/class-size targets)

  • Birchwood – 98%
  • Craig – 98%
  • Glencliff – 91%
  • Hillside – 97%
  • Rosendale – 93%
  • Iroquois – 95%
  • Van Antwerp – 88%
  • High School – 99%

Building Condition Survey

Jim King from King+King Architects distributed the district’s 2016 Building Condition Survey, which is being updated. This is a review of the existing condition of district facilities, including all building systems, exterior areas, and key components. The 2016 survey identified more than $41 million worth of work that would need to be done in the coming years to maintain district facilities, based on items that are at the end of their useful life or nearing it. This includes everything from PA systems to flooring, sidewalks and pavement to lighting, and electrical and HVAC systems.

King also shared a summary of district schools, their year of construction (all were built between 1949 and 1969), square footage and acreage. As the district approaches a capital project and program delivery and school configuration options, officials have stated that they are not interested in closing a school or building a new one. The document identified the number of acres at each school that could be used to support the construction of additional instructional space if needed. Each school has some acreage that could be used for this purpose, with the possible exception of Van Antwerp. There is little capability at the Van Antwerp site to add new classrooms by expanding the footprint of the building. However, a number of classrooms may be available through renovation of the existing floor plan. Also, a significant number of classrooms could be available by relocating the District Office out of the school building.

Next Meeting

Monday, Feb. 25, 6 p.m., Van Antwerp Library Media Center