NACS faces overcrowding, discussing new elementary school

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Northwest Allen County Schools board voted to approve the hiring of an architect for a new elementary school.

The decision was made as four of the district’s seven elementary schools were at or over capacity for the 2017-2018 school year.

“Huntertown Elementary School, Cedar Canyon Elementary School, Eel River, Oak View and Perry Hill are all seeing growth,” Superintendent Chris Himsel, PhD explained. “Four of the five of those schools I just mentioned are at or over capacity now.”

There has been much growth in Northwest Allen County over the past several years. New housing brought or will bring many young families to the area.

The school district has seen enrollment grow by 1,500 students over the past 8 years. The staff is also keeping an eye on several developments that are being planned.

“We’ve been having conversations with our board about how to address the growth as our buildings get tighter and tighter in terms of classroom space,” Himsel said.

The school district is using portable classrooms and altering the use of rooms across the district.

“It’s time for us to be looking for permanent spaces because this looks like more than a bubble, it’s an ongoing and continuous enrollment,” Himsel added.

The school district is preparing for community meetings in the coming months to share and hear ideas about how to handle the enrollment boom.

According to Himsel, a referendum might be needed after that.

Students from the elementary schools will all end up at Carroll High School. Himsel said any major changes there will not be needed for at least ten years.