WEST FARGO – The School District here may need to build new elementary schools and a third high school in the next five years to accommodate enrollment growth, despite opening a new elementary school each year for the past four years and a second high school this year.
Superintendent David Flowers presented the results of a demographics study by Kansas-based consultants RSP Associates to the School Board on Monday night. RSP is the same consultant used by the district in 2010 for a five-year enrollment projection.
The new study predicts the district will continue to add between 400 and 600 students each year, with an average growth of 545 students each year through the next 10 years. It predicts West Fargo schools will go from about 9,035 this year to 14,552 students in the 2024-2025 school year.
West Fargo school enrollment could soon eclipse Fargo School enrollment, which now has 11,200 students, Flowers said.
“So we’d be larger than Fargo is now,” he said. “Fargo will continue to grow, just not at the same rate.”
The middle schools and high schools will begin to feel the pressure of enrollment growth by the 2017-2018 school year when about 1,072 students are expected to enroll at Sheyenne High School, which will graduate its first class of seniors in spring 2017. The school has a maximum capacity of 1,550 students.
About 1,478 students are expected to enroll at West Fargo High School, a large increase from the 1,115 students there this year and a number close to the school’s maximum capacity of 1,550.
The study predicts about 1,625 students will attend West Fargo High School by 2019, under the current boundary system. By 2024, 2,317 students would attend Sheyenne High School and 2,112 at West Fargo High School.
A majority of the district’s elementary schools will reach capacity over the next 10 years, but Aurora, Berger, Eastwood, Freedom and Independence will likely experience the most pressure, Flowers said.
The high rate of growth means the district will likely have to accommodate that by building new schools, including a third high school, he said.
The board has scheduled a workshop at 5 p.m. on Feb. 18 to begin work on a long-range facilities plan.