Saturday, August 8, 2020

CB school student body numbers take another hike

Look for a modular classroom next year

By Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte Community School continues to grow, with the student population this year again reaching new highs. That will likely mean a tight facility for the 2018-19 academic year and the addition of at least one modular classroom next year.

Re1J school superintendent Leslie Nichols said a preliminary head count indicates CBCS will have 762 students when school begins in less than two weeks. The elementary school has an estimated 363 students, while the secondary school will have 399 students. Last year the school had 719 students. The official student count is conducted in October.

“This year’s plan is to continue to maximize use of available spaces in the building,” Nichols explained. “Principals Sally Hensley and Stephanie Niemi have a strong handle on making our CBCS building function well and our facilities team continues to work with them on modifications to existing spaces as needed.”

If the student population continues to grow as expected, Nichols said physical improvements would be needed. “We project next year’s CBCS enrollment to hit 775, at which time we will add temporary classroom space in the form of one modular unit,” Nichols said. “Up to four modular classrooms could be added as planning and implementation of expansion continues. The Facilities Master Plan for the whole district is nearing completion. Ideally, Crested Butte schools will have more space by the time enrollment grows to 850.”

Nichols informed the school board at the Monday meeting that the Crested Butte school was reaching capacity. She said there would be three kindergarten classes this year, three first-grade classes, two second-grade classes, and three classes in fourth, fifth and sixth grades. She said it was so tight that two students based in Gunnison had expressed interest in attending the Crested Butte school but the transfer was turned down. Adding them would have maxed out the two second-grade classes.

Nichols said the student population expectations had been met and exceeded, so the idea of a modular classroom should be anticipated to occur next year. She also reminded the board that a bond issue to help fund a future expansion is likely to be put to the voters in a future election.

The new school year begins on August 27.

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