Column: District 518 set to assess facilities needsWORTHINGTON — What’s exciting about District 518? Over the years, the district has been a solid foundation for the community in which students have received a quality education that has helped them reach their established goals.
By: John Landgaard, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — What’s exciting about District 518? Over the years, the district has been a solid foundation for the community in which students have received a quality education that has helped them reach their established goals. This has been accomplished through the support of our school community in many different manners such as the building of a new elementary school eleven years ago, an excess operating referendum in 2007, and general support of programs like the new First Robotics program last year. Each time the district looks to enhance the opportunities for students, the entire school community has worked to support the continued quality of its educational system.
The past five years has brought a change to District 518 with an increased enrollment that is projected to grow over the next four years. Just four years ago, the enrollment of the district was 2,165, while the enrollment this year is 2,600 and projected to reach 2,844 students in the year 2015-16. As the population of the school district continues to grow, these enrollments will create some space difficulties in each of the buildings, not only in the classroom, but in spaces like the cafeteria, gym and music areas. Many folks may state that we had larger classes 30 years ago, but during those times, schools did not have programming for special education, computers or other programs that have become part of our current educational system (approximately 25 percent of the current building space). Also, just as a note, these projects do not take into account things like open enrollment, increased housing, current business expansion or new business growth in the community that may have an increase effect on the district’s enrollment. So what are the options for the district over the next few years to address possible crowding in the facilities? Before that can be determined, the district will need to define the overall needs that not only will be facility space, but also those needs in the area of increased grounds (e.g. soccer fields, other activity spaces, etc.).
The district is starting with a facility and grounds committee that will meet in the next few weeks to begin identifying the overall needs of the facilities as well as the grounds areas. The hope is to establish a complete list of needs in order to develop a priority list for the future. This is where you can help the district — by providing thoughts about the various needs. These can be shared with the district office either by phone (372-2172) or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that the committee has your input as a plan is developed to address the district’s future needs. Likewise, if you are interested in serving on a committee, we would be very excited to have community participation in helping to shape the future of District 518.
So, what are the options available to the district for the future? This is a part of what the facilities and grounds committee will need to define over the next few months in order to communicate the options available. The need to discuss all the options is extremely important to ensure that the best long-term decisions can be made for the future of our students and community. District 518’s future is bright with quality programs, continued enrollment growth, many course opportunities, current financial stability and great students. With continued community support, the district will be able to provide the education necessary for success in the future.
As District 518 develops the plan for addressing facility and grounds needs as well as our academic needs, the support of the community is vital to success of our students. The long-term needs of the district will be addressed over the next few months in order to help everyone understand the needs and direction of the district as our school and community grow. We are hopeful that strong support will help define the direction for District 518 and continue its tradition of providing a great education for the students served. Please take the time to be a part of District 518’s future by providing some insight into these needs. We have been extremely thankful for the past support and would like to have this continue well into the future.
John Landgaard is the District 518 superintendent.