When Madison County Schools reopen, the district will be better equipped to handle the growing number of students after using the summer months to continue projects for expansion.
An additional 18 classrooms will be completed on two elementary campuses, and a new school is in the works to accommodate sixth grade students in the Germantown Zone.
Madison County School District is in the design phase with the sixth-grade building, which will be located on the 16th section land near, but not connected to, Germantown Middle School, Assistant Superintendent Kalvin Robinson said.
They plan to break ground on the school in the fall, and it will open with 400 students enrolled, he added.
“This will relieve the pressure at Germantown Middle,” Robinson said.
The district worked closely with a demographer to figure what the projected student population will be in each zone within the next 10 years.
With this information, they were able to identify what schools across the district will need additional classrooms or a new campus in Germantown’s case.
In the sixth grade alone, enrollment is projected to increase in the next few years by nearly 100 students. This past year, there were 340 students enrolled in sixth grade at Germantown Middle.
By 2024-25, enrollment is projected to jump to 407. Since the middle school is already reaching capacity and using portable buildings for classrooms, the new campus will accommodate the rising enrollment numbers each year.
Once the design phase is completed, the district will issue bids for construction services.
Superintendent Charlotte Seals has told the Sun that existing funds are in place to cover the cost of the project, as she said, “We have been good stewards of our dollars.”
Some other ways the school district is adapting to handle growth is by building 12 additional classrooms at Ann Smith Elementary and six new classrooms at Mannsdale Upper Elementary.
Robinson said construction is underway on the Mannsdale Upper classrooms, with brick going up last week.
As for Ann Smith Elementary, Robinson said construction began last week on that project.
The new classrooms have been needed for some time, as the district has had to be creative with existing facilities in the past by using portable classrooms and having teachers “float.”
Seals has told the Sun that the district is not reactive, but rather takes a proactive approach by examining future growth patterns across the district to anticipate needed facilities.
For now, Director of Communications Gene Wright said the school district is focused on ending the 2020 school year and plans for the following year in light of COVID-19. The school year officially ended on Friday, May 22. Graduation ceremonies will be taking place between May 26 and June 5.
“We will continue following the advice of state and local authorities, the (Center for Disease Control), and the (Mississippi Department of Education) in making plans for fall,” Wright said. “A lot can happen in more than two months’ time, so at this point we will not be able to provide concrete information as the situation is likely to remain somewhat fluid. Of course, as soon as we can do so, we will absolutely communicate any plans with our faculty, staff, families, community and media.”