Two New Schools Open In Harrisburg
by Betsy Jibben, Reporter
August 21, 2013 6:34 PM
Wednesday was the first day of school in several towns, including Harrisburg. It’s one of the state’s fastest growing school districts. Harrisburg has built two new schools to handle the growth, The new Endeavor Elementary School and North Middle School.
The Harrisburg School District has seen about 344 new students district-wide since last September. With numbers like that, the district had to expand.
"We outgrew our building, we had outside classrooms. We needed a new building," said Endeavor Elementary Principal, Mike Munzke.
Harrisburg now has one high school, 2 middle schools and 5 elementary schools. The new Endeavor Elementary has about 370 students alone, and 4 advanced placement programs, but also empty rooms, preparing for even more students.
"We like to keep our classrooms as small as possible. That's part of one of our main goals. It's hard to do when you don't have any empty classrooms and you keep getting kids in. That's why we had to build a new elementary and middle school last year," said Munzke.
Next to the elementary sits North Middle School. It's built for about 800 students, but only filling half of that. Having those extra classrooms is a new luxury.
"In the old middle school, we were about 650 students last year. That’s above capacity in the building. We saw the growth still coming. This year between the new schools we saw 700 students. We needed to separate that building and crease the two middle schools," said North Middle School Principal Tim Koehler.
But before worrying about growth in the future, staff and students are working on getting adjusted to their new locations
"It's an exciting time. It’s fresh faces here and new staff and new kids. We are enjoying the new building," said Koehler.
The schools may look completed but there is still some construction left. The gym, music room and a theatre that seats about 500, will be completed this fall in the new middle school.
The current enrollment for the district is around 3,330 students. Just 6 years ago, the district had less than half that number. To put that into perspective, two-thirds of the current staff have been hired over the last 6 years.