Plan speeds up for facility

Enrollment growth faster than expected

A new Center Grove elementary school will be needed sooner than expected, after the school district once again set a record for the number of new kindergartners.

Center Grove has an enrollment of 8,093 students as of this week, a number which could change as the school district finalizes its numbers.

Nearly half of those students — more than 3,700 — attend one of the five elementary schools. Add 300 more, and Center Grove will need a new elementary school, Superintendent Rich Arkanoff said.

The school district’s enrollment grew by 2 percent this year — or more than 160 students — and once again Center Grove is welcoming its largest kindergarten class, assistant superintendent Bill Long said.

That growth beat projections of how much Center Grove’s enrollment was expected to increase this school year. And if that trend continues as it has, then school officials have to consider a new elementary school soon, Arkanoff said.

At this rate, that new school could be needed as soon as 2019, meaning the process to build it needs to start now, Arkanoff said.

School officials already have taken actions the past few years to try to address the growth, including redistricting and moving students to other schools to try to manage class sizes. This school year, Center Grove hired 16 new teachers as another way to keep class sizes low.

Currently, class sizes across the school district range from 22 to 29 students per class, officials said.

Middle school enrollment also grew more than expected, but officials have said the need for a new middle school is decades away.

The target for when a new elementary school would be needed is when enrollment at the current elementary schools reaches 4,020. And this school year, Center Grove is 92 percent of the way there.

Arkanoff wants school officials to begin discussing a new elementary school in the coming months, and starting the process of getting the funding to build one, he said.

That process will take several months, and could require a public vote depending on whether the cost of the building is more than $10 million, on top of the time needed to construct the building.

By the numbers

Here is a look at Center Grove’s enrollment numbers in recent years:

Total enrollment

Year;enrollment

2016;8,093

2015;7,926

2014;7,749

2013;7,584

Elementary enrollment

2016;3,713

2015;3,575

2014;3,340

2013;3,373

SOURCE: Center Grove schools

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.