School capacity

Lincoln County commissioners and school board members brainstorm strategies for addressing the looming capacity concerns in county schools. 

LINCOLNTON – The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners held a workshop with the Lincoln County Board of Education to discuss concerns about capacity at a handful of schools in the Denver area.

Catawba Springs Elementary School has already exceeded its programmed capacity of 560 students, while other schools like St. James Elementary and Rock Springs Elementary have risen above 90 percent.

While projecting growth is an inexact science considering the many factors that impact the rate at which residential developments build out, St. James and Rock Springs are both likely to surpass capacity when the neighborhoods that have been approved for construction in Lincoln County are built. East Lincoln High School is also projected to exceed capacity at that time, which is still likely a few years away.

“One of the questions that will naturally come out of this conversation is, ‘When will we reach these projected numbers?’” Lincoln County Planning Director Andrew Bryant said. “The answer is when these developments start to build out, but we can’t give a finite date.”

Bryant referenced a number of developments that have already been approved by the county, including Rivercross, Carrington and Carolina Ridge, all of which are likely to see homes being built over the next 12 to 18 months. For every 100 homes built in Lincoln County, Bryant estimates 32 Lincoln County Schools students and three charter school students are generated.

Following Bryant’s presentation, commissioners and school board members split into groups to discuss strategies for addressing the looming capacity concerns. While nothing was decided, the options identified for future evaluation include building a new elementary school in eastern Lincoln County, which comes with an estimated price tag of $25 million, building an addition to St. James, which was labeled a “Band-Aid” fix, and redrawing the lines throughout the district to help balance attendance numbers.

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