School boards generally catch a lot of flak from families during the redistricting process, but Union County Public Schools doesn’t get enough credit on the amount of research that goes into these decisions.
I was particularly impressed with a presentation UCPS Planning Manager Don Ogram Jr. gave during the Jan. 23 facilities committee, which is chaired by school board member Kathy Heintel.
Ogram split up the Weddington cluster into two sections he described as Antioch and Weddington South.
Ogram identified 735 housing units that have yet to be built from eight active developments and five planned projects in the Antioch area, including 302 units at the Solis at Chestnut Farms, an apartment complex set for Matthews-Weddington Road.
He then showed 1,472 units waiting to be built from 13 active developments and five planned projects in the Weddington South portion of the cluster, including 606 at a Cresswind community in the unincorporated area of Wesley Chapel.
That means the cluster is bracing for a total of 2,207 housing units.
Tracking this type of data in a spreadsheet helps put the school board in a position to make sound decisions.
Upon seeing the data, Heintel expressed a renewed sense of concern about Solis at Chestnut Farms, noting that while the project consists of fewer units than originally proposed, it will have more three-bedroom units than intended.
This gives her the impression that it would attract more families with children – something to keep an eye on.
“We’re not going to see any contributions from that development in the next year on our enrollments, so we do have a little bit of time to keep an eye on things and discuss what possible courses we may take,” Ogram replied.
The Cresswind community will be age-restricted, which will likely produce fewer school-age children than a more traditional housing development, Ogram added.
He also shared current enrollment data and building utilization for schools within the cluster:
• Antioch Elementary: 910 students, 120% utilization, six mobile classrooms.
• Rea View Elementary: 683 students, 94% utilization, three mobile classrooms.
• Weddington Elementary: 751 students, 107% utilization, seven mobile classrooms.
• Wesley Chapel Elementary: 575 students, 100% utilization, three mobile classrooms.
• Weddington Middle: 1,248 students, 103% utilization, eight mobile classrooms.
• Weddington High: 1,624 students, 91% utilization, zero mobile classrooms.
He also shared some enrollment data for middle and high schools in adjacent clusters which will be of interest to our readers:
• Cuthbertson Middle: 1,404 students, 106% utilization, four mobile classrooms.
• Cuthbertson High: 1,926 students, 107% utilization, zero mobile classrooms.
• Marvin Ridge Middle: 1,436 students, 102% utilization, five mobile classrooms.
• Marvin Ridge High: 1,846 students, 100% utilization, zero mobile classrooms.
• Sun Valley Middle: 1,142 students, 97% utilization, 10 mobile classrooms.
• Sun Valley High: 1,466 students, 85% utilization, four mobile classrooms.
Sun Valley High’s capacity includes space that will become available upon completion of the 2016 bond project.
“There are certainly no construction recommendations even though we have several schools over 100%,” Ogram told the committee. “I think we keep our eye on things and if the numbers get out of hand that we consider non-construction alternatives to controlling the enrollment.”
Wondering what comes next?
Ogram plans on giving a presentation on the Marvin Ridge cluster next. I’ll keep you updated on that presentation.