When school buildings are filled beyond capacity, students' education suffers and safety becomes a concern. Overcrowding is a growing problem plaguing school districts across the country. As a result, many U.S. cities are seeing new school construction and renovations to address the problems associated with crowded classrooms.
Three notable cities moving forward on school improvement plans are:
San Antonio, Texas
The San Antonio population has grown rapidly over the past few years. Between April 2010 and July 2015, the city's population grew 10.7 percent, according to data from the Census Bureau. And, according to the Rivard Report, the city is prepared to see job and continued population growth in the coming years.
With the city seeing such success, it's not hard to believe that the schools are seeing more students enroll. To ease overcrowding, the Northside Independent School District will build a new school – Harlan High School – that will bring about 1,600 students from three different area schools, according to local ABC affiliate station, KSAT 12. Harlan High will teach grades 9 through 12 when it is completed for fall 2017.
Like much of the country, most of Boise's schools have aged quite a bit since they were built 50 or more years ago, according to the Idaho NBC affiliate station KTVB. As such, there is visible deterioration that needs to be addressed, and classes have grown too large for many of the classrooms. The school district and city have yet to agree on a plan, but several proposals are in the works, and may be on voters' ballots in March 2017, according to the Idaho Statesman. Currently, the $217 million school construction program includes several projects that would be scheduled over the course of a decade:
- Build a new elementary school.
- Rebuild six of the existing elementary schools.
- Renovate 15 schools.
- Put an addition on Timberline High School.
Typically, where there is fast population growth, overcrowded schools unsurprisingly aren't far behind. This trend is clear in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood. According to Realtor.com, it's one of the nation's fastest-growing neighborhoods, with a projected household growth of 18.9 percent over the next five years. While this might be great for the many businesses in the loop, South Loop Elementary hasn't exactly benefited from the population boom. The school, built in 1988 for 580 students, now teaches 839, according to DNA Info.
Overcrowded conditions have frustrated parents for years, and now the city is taking note. The Chicago Board of Education purchased a vacant post office building in 2016 and has plans to replace it with another South Loop Elementary building that will accommodate up to 1,200 students. This will not only ease the current overcrowding issues, but also account for the population growth that will surely bring more students to Chicago Public Schools.
As more school districts continue to make plans to ease overcrowding and update facilities, many will find extensive construction necessary. But when making renovations around curious children, it's important to keep all equipment and materials out of the way. And classroom supplies can easily hinder renovation progress. A Mobile Mini portable storage unit can help with school storage throughout construction, and can securely house any important materials and tools.