Over the next few years, we expect about 2,000 new students to come to the Park Hill School District, and we need to find room for them. Park Hill has grown slowly and steadily for more than 30 years. In the 2015-2016 school year, we have 11,111 students, and experts tell us that our enrollment will continue to grow over time, until we have about 13,000 students.
We are planning ahead for that growth, so we can provide safe, effective places for students to learn while being careful stewards of taxpayer dollars.
In spring of 2013, Park Hill started gathering feedback from students, staff, parents and community members about our future facilities. The Board of Education used the feedback when approving criteria for the plan, and our experts used the feedback to develop a long list of possible options.
Parents and staff helped us narrow down that list to three options. We held four open houses and an online discussion to get more public feedback.
In March 2015, the Board selected one of the options and approved the long-range facilities plan. The plan calls for adding two elementary schools, as our enrollment in the younger grades grows.
The plan also calls for educating sixth, seventh and eighth grades in four middle schools.
At the high-school level, the idea is for additional space to offer special, innovative programs for all district high-school students. This would expand our offerings and ease crowding at both high schools as we grow.
We also need a new support-service facility, because our warehouse is too small for a district of our size, and we could save money if we build our own facility for school buses.
Now that we have a Board-approved plan, we are constantly looking at our enrollment numbers, so we can figure out when we will need to add mobile units or build schools. The timeline for the changes depends on enrollment.
In order to keep building successful futures, each student, every day, we must make sure our schools and facilities keep up with our enrollment growth. This long-range facilities plan maps out the way for us to do just that.