By Heather Lusk
Within the next 10 years, Zionsville Community Schools is anticipating an increase of 2,000 students, roughly 200 students each year, according to a projection by the Indiana Business Research Center.
The projection was presented to the ZCS school board at its Nov. 14 meeting.
Pleasant View, the district’s largest elementary school, could reach nearly 800 students in the next decade with the high school serving 2,600 students by 2025.
“Growth has really continued (in Zionsville) even with the great recession and the aftermath of those difficulties,” said Matt Kinghorn with IBRC. “Suburban areas in Indiana and around the country have experienced a slowdown in population growth.”
The same group projected enrollment in 2013 for the current school year. When showing a comparison of their past projection to reality, they were off by 22 students, a negligible difference with 6,418 students in the school district.
Roughly 70 percent of the development has occurred in the Boone Meadow and Union Elementary School districts, with nearly 1,300 single-family homes approved for future development throughout Zionsville.
The high school recently nearly reached capacity but underwent an expansion in 2014 to allow an additional 400 students. According to IBRC estimates, ZCHS is expected to be at 95 percent capacity during the 2021-2022 school year, which would be an increase of 700 students.
Skillman Corporation has identified areas of focus over the next five years to address aging school building issues. ZCS Chief Financial Officer Mike Shafer said a public hearing will be held to discuss details for financing the needed improvements.
“What sorts of facility needs are we going to have in the future to house all those new students that are obviously heading our way?” Shafer asked. “The existing facilities, how are we going to take care of those?”
“We’re looking at these two prongs simultaneously,” he said. He believes that the tax rate can be preserved with certain actions by the school board which he plans to present at the school board’s public hearing Dec. 12.