More expansion coming for Gillette schools - KOTA Territory News

More expansion coming for Gillette schools

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It's getting crowded.

"We will have Sage Valley Junior High over 1,000 students for the first time in recent history," said Campbell County School District associate superintendent Alex Ayers.

A new Lakeview Elementary is on the way next year, but Campbell County School District officials are still trying to secure $46 million in state funding to build another elementary school and expand the Campbell County High School South Campus.  Ninth graders at the junior high schools would then move to South Campus, which only houses tenth graders.

But the expansion could cover more than just one other grade.

"We have to think about the future and while it may house ninth and tenth graders in the short–term, I believe the intention, if the enrollment continues to grow, will be to have a second high school in Gillette," said Ayers.

The new elementary building should open in 2016 and the high school expansion should finish in time for the 2017 school year.

The funding proposal still needs legislative approval during next year's session.

Gregg Blikre, R-Gillette, who represents House District 53 says the state needs to play catch up by funding projects like this.

"Most of the schools that were built across Wyoming over the past 10, 12 years were built based on what kind of shape the previous buildings were in.  It's only just now in the last couple of years got the understanding across that we need to address the communities that are really growing," said Blikre.

Ayers says the new buildings can't come soon enough.

"Our preliminary enrollments today would be an all–time kindergarten high of roughly 900 students," said Ayers.

The district's projections show K-12 enrollment is expected to increase by 1,400 students in four years.

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