By Rick Palsgrove
Enrollment at Groveport Madison Schools is growing.
As of the first full week of October 2021 (the customary time frame the Ohio Department of Education uses to calculate enrollment), the district had 6,271 students.
In comparison, enrollment was 5,569 in 2015-16.
According to information provided by Groveport Madison Schools officials, four of the district’s six elementary schools are now over capacity, and all three of the district’s middle schools are over capacity. As a result, the district’s elementary and middle schools exceed their functional capacity by more than 580 students. All but two buildings are over capacity based on the first week of October’s enrollment headcount.
District officials are creating a facilities planning team to assess the existing school buildings, update enrollment projections, and look into options to address overcrowded conditions in the schools. Schools’ officials indicated the community will be involved in this process.
“Overcrowding is the central issue we’re facing, but other factors that must be considered in the facilities planning process includes the age, condition, efficiency, adaptability, and cost to maintain our existing elementary and middle schools,” said Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner. “It’s important to keep all of these factors in the forefront of the discussion.”
Warner said there are a few factors as to why the district’s enrollment is on the rise.
“Word is getting out that Groveport Madison School District is more desirable than it may have been in the past,” said Warner. “A positive reputation, improving academic achievement, new programs, and the new high school have made the area more desirable for families with school-age children. When you combine the above factors with very affordable housing in a booming housing market, you have the key ingredients for enrollment growth.”
Warner said determining enrollment and future trends in birthrates, housing starts, and matriculation rates, etc., is a science that requires people with specific expertise.
“Shortly, the district will be contracting with a firm to conduct an enrollment study,” said Warner. “We are in the process of talking with other school districts and professional organizations to get recommendations on who we might extend a request for a proposal.”
When asked what steps are being made to ease overcrowding until a more permanent solution is found, Warner said, “Using modular classrooms (portable school structures) historically has been the predominate means of addressing overcrowding in schools.”
According to Warner, the district currently has 24 modular classrooms in use. There is a single quad-classroom unit at Groveport Elementary, two double-classroom units at Asbury Elementary and Dunloe Elementary, and six double-classroom units at Sedalia Elementary.
Warner said it is unknown at this time as to when a bond issue to fund new schools could appear before the voters on the ballot.
“We do, however, feel it is important to begin the planning process to have a good plan in place for when that time comes,” said Warner. “This process will also allow for us to gather input on a timeline the community could/would support.
Buildings’ capacity and enrollments
Here are the capacity and current enrollments for Groveport Madison’s elementary and middle schools (a new 240,000 square foot, 1,500 student high school opened in 2018):
•Asbury Elementary – Built in 1963 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 476. Functional capacity, 425.
•Dunloe Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 448. Functional capacity, 425.
•Glendening Elementary – Built in 1968 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 455. Functional capacity, 425.
•Groveport Elementary – Built in 1923. Enrollment, 417. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
•Madison Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 354. Functional capacity, 425.
•Sedalia Elementary – Built in 1969 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 562. Functional capacity, 446.
•Middle School North – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 495. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School South – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 466. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School Central – Built in stages as a high school between 1952-56. Enrollment, 448. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
(Functional capacity is 85 percent of original design capacity and reflects modern requirements for classroom space and programming. Source: Groveport Madison Schools.)