Enrollment growth continues to be a challenge for district

Sappington will have more classroom space

By Mike Anthony

The Lindbergh Board of Education recently awarded a $75,700 contract to Hof Construction for renovation work to create more classroom space at Sappington Elementary School.

The district received five bids for the work, ranging from Hof Construction’s low bid to John Kalicak Construction Inc.’s high bid of $96,026.

Sappington Elementary now has two large kindergarten classrooms on the main floor. Hof Construction will convert those two classrooms into three kindergarten rooms, according to Executive Director of Planning and Development Karl Guyer.

“This and other changes and shifts within Sappington Elementary School will create two additional classroom spaces,” Guyer wrote in a June 10 memo to Superintendent Jim Simpson.

The work is necessitated by the district’s aggressive enrollment growth and the desire to keep class sizes as small as possible, according to Simpson.

Of the Sappington project, Simpson told the Call, “That’s not ideal, but it’s what you have to do when you have such an influx of students … It’s definitely going to be challenging to find a place for all the kids even coming in this year.”

The enrollment growth is impacting all of the district’s schools, but particularly the elementary buildings. For example, part of the Long Elementary School library is being converted into a “pull-out” classroom for seven or eight students, he said.

Though district voters approved a bond issue, Proposition G, in April that will fund the construction of a new elementary school on the Dressel School site on Musick Road, that school is not slated to open until August 2017.

In the meantime, Simpson said, “Short term, we’re having to do some things that are painful. Long term, we’re going to be fine because of Dressel and Prop G …”