One high school, or two?


It’s the white elephant in the educational room. Does Noblesville need to expand its only high school or build a second? It’s the question no one wanted to ask for years but because of the continued enrollment increase, the time has come for serious discussion about the controversial topic.

In 2007, Noblesville Schools’ enrollment was 8,172 students. Last year, enrollment increased to 9,008 students (kindergarten students only count as 0.5 students in both of those numbers, as determined by the state for its official count).

“We’re increasing 200 students a year the past two years,” explained Supt. Libbie Conner.

Your opinion counts!

Beginning Friday, residents can take part in an online survey designed to gauge the opinion of the Noblesville community. You can access the survey at The survey will close May 7. Paper surveys will also be available at each school and at the Central Administration Office, 1775 Field Dr. Paper surveys must be returned by May 7 in order to be counted.

Conner said the main and freshman campuses are both reaching capacity as 2,500 students attend the buildings. The kicker for officials is the district’s lower grades have higher numbers – hence the need for the referendum years ago to build additions at all elementary schools and transform Noblesville Intermediate School to a middle school. In a number of years, those classes will reach the high school, so plans need to be in place to accommodate those students.

During her most recent State of the Schools address, Conner said the cost to build a second high school would be approximately $120 million and it would also take four to five years to be constructed. She added annual operating costs for a second high school would be $1 million. The other option is to add to the present high school. Conner said the district has expressed interest in purchasing the armory, which is located between Noblesville High School and the Central Office, but the sale of the 10 acres must be approved by federal and state governments.

District officials want to get the public’s input through a series of community forums, which will also provide information on options and cost. The next forums will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at Noblesville Middle School, 300 N. 17th St., and May 1 at NIS, 19900 Hague Rd.

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