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December 06, 2017 10:01 PM

District Projects 26,000 Students By 2023

To build or not to build that is the question the Sioux Falls School District is trying to decide as it deals with record enrollment numbers. 
The district says a lot of its school buildings are near or at capacity. 
Right now there are more than 24,729 students enrolled in the district.  It's projecting by 2023 there'll be more than 26,012.

So if it does decide to build more schools, the questions then becomes where, when and how many?
We've already told you Sioux Falls Public Schools are bursting at the seams. 

"We don't have a single room that's not used in a single class period. So our capacity to grow isn't- we don't have any more capacity to grow right now," said Roosevelt Principal, Tim Hazlett. 

That's why the district and school board members continue to discuss their options.  Wednesday, Superintendent Brian Maher showed board members projected enrollment numbers for all elementary, middle school and high schools and how those numbers are calculated. 
"We are not going to over inflate those numbers to make the problem look worse than it is, we're also not going to try and under inflate to make it look less than it is, we want the numbers to be as accurate as they can be from a budgetary standpoint, but also an enrollment standpoint and ultimately a brick and mortar standpoint, Superintendent Brian Maher said. 

But building new may not be the only answer.  

The district first wants to see how does it best use the facilities it currently has.  

Maher says right now they are operating at 85 to 90 percent capacity at any given time. 

"We are using some spaces that were never designed to be classroom spaces, we are using them as classrooms," Maher said. 
For instance, director of Operational Services, Jeff Kreiter, told the board in some cases middle school principals are having to get creative to accommodate the growth.  

"Memorial is a great example, Memorial is using their staff dining area for classrooms," Kreiter said. 

The district has been meeting with several focus groups that are made up of teachers, students and parents to look at all options.  The next work session is January 8.

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