New and modified campuses accomodate growth

By Messenger Staff | Published Sunday, April 24, 2011
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The growth of student population in the Decatur school district has proven to be a natural extension of the general population growth in the area.

During the last 10 years, school enrollment at Decatur grew from 2,570 to 2,901, using first-day enrollment figures.

That represents a 13 percent increase.

Census 2010To handle the growth, the district opened or modified several campuses in the 10-year span.

In 2000, the district opened Carson Elementary School, the second for the district, and the Multipurpose Building. A new high school opened in 2006, and Young Elementary School opened in the fall of 2010.

After a bond issue to address several maintenance needs failed in 2009, the district has continued to analyze and prioritize its needs. Earlier this year, NR2 Architects prepared a Facility Assessment Report on several of the district’s facilities.

The challenge the district is facing is maintaining its facilities, some of which are decades old, while working through a state-budget crisis that has forced the district to cut $4 million from its planned spending for the upcoming school year.

As enrollment numbers grow, so do the challenges of maintaining facilities.

According to enrollment projections and facility capacities, the district appears to be in good shape for the next several years.

When the high school was built, the middle school moved into the vacated building, and the intermediate school moved from Cates Street to the vacated middle school on Eagle Drive.

When Young Elementary was built, the elementary grade levels were expanded from pre-kindergarten through fourth to pre-kindergarten through fifth.

The former Decatur Intermediate School became a sixth-grade campus as part of Decatur Middle School.

According to a master planning document put together by Claycomb Associates Architects prior to the 2008 bond election for Young Elementary, school facilities still have room to grow. The high school has a capacity of 1,200 students, the middle school 800 students, the sixth grade campus 525 and the three elementaries 1,850.

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