MANDAN, N.D. — Enrollment projections indicate student numbers could overwhelm classroom capacity at Mandan Public Schools in central North Dakota in the next five years.

Enrollment in Mandan Public Schools is anticipated to increase by more than 500 students over five years, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The high school is expected to be over capacity by 150 students, while elementary schools may not have enough classroom space.

Mandan Public Schools Superintendent Mike Bitz calls it “a big concern.”

The school board is deciding what to do.

“It’s almost like we need to start doing something in the next year or year and a half …. These are very sobering numbers,” said school board President Tim Rector. “I didn’t think we would run out of space that soon.”

The board approved building a 10-classroom addition onto Mandan Middle School last year, which is scheduled to be complete by August. The expansion will make space for the projected 1,000 students in five years.

Building an addition onto the high school might not be an option since it’s an older building, according to Bitz.

Another elementary school could be built land the district has in south Mandan. But Rector said the board wants to be careful to avoid overbuilding.

“(If) these numbers look like we need a new school, I want to make sure we need a new school before we build a new school and have a bunch of vacancies,” said Rector.

Sheldon Wolf, a school board member, said the board will need to explore all options and make sure the district has enough resources, including teachers and classrooms.

The board’s facilities and finance committee will evaluate alternatives to present to the board, Bitz said.

Rector said the board will likely discuss options at its retreat this summer.

Information from: Bismarck Tribune,