Madison County School District planning for future growth

Madison County School District is working to accommodate growth with lasting additions including a new facility to house  sixth-graders in the Germantown zone.

Ann Smith Elementary and Mannsdale Upper Elementary will also soon get additional space.

The district has been working 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.

Superintendent Charlotte Seals said the Germantown Zone alone is averaging five percent growth each year.

“Germantown Middle is our most urgent need for overcrowding,” she said.

In the sixth-grade alone, enrollment is expected to increase in the next few years by more than 100 students. This year, there are 340 students enrolled in sixth grade at Germantown Middle.

By 2024-25, enrollment is projected to jump to 407. In a school that is already reaching capacity and using portable buildings for classrooms, a new campus is planned to accommodate the rising enrollment numbers each year.

Seals expects the district to start pushing dirt in late spring/early fall of 2020 and complete work by 2021.

The district is in the proposal stage of the project. Next will come renderings from the architect and at that time they will issue bids for construction services.

Existing funds are in place to cover the project, Seals said. “We have been good stewards of our dollars.”

The new school will house the sixth-grade students at a separate location near Germantown Middle.

“We still have some more land in that area, so we are looking at building near the middle school, but not connected to it,” Seals said.

In the meantime, the district has been creative with its existing facilities to accommodate the growth.

“We have portable classrooms we are using,” Seals said. “And teachers float while other teachers are on planning time.”

At Ann Smith Elementary, the district has planned an additional 12 classrooms to be built. Seals said that six classrooms will be added to Mannsdale Upper Elementary.

Seals added that they have been looking at future growth patterns district-wide to anticipate the areas that would need additions.

“It isn’t all reaction,” Seals said. “It’s proactive planning.”

Because of this, she said the district is eyeing additions to Germantown High School in the future.

“Our next phase will be looking at what we want to do at the high school level,” Seals said.

The high school’s enrollment numbers also continue to climb. Approximately 1,084 students were enrolled in grades nine through 12 for the 2016-17 school year.

Approximately 1,200 students were enrolled at the high school for the 2018-19 school year.

In the next few years the district will begin to evaluate how to best address growth at the high school level in the Germantown Zone.

Seals said the district has also been at work district-wide to update facilities at each school, as needed.

“We take great care to maintain our current facilities and update as we go,” Seals said.

Taking care of existing classrooms and undergoing other projects to keep the schools in “excellent condition” has helped, Seals said.

Modifications and additions were also made at Madison Central, Madison Middle, Olde Towne Middle, Ridgeland High, Luther Branson and Velma Jackson.

“We are providing updates in all schools in all zones,” Seals said. “A lot of work was done over the summer in all of the schools.”

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