Saturday, May 17, 2003

Nearby schools get extra classrooms

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Two growing school districts will benefit from the opening of Lakota Plains Junior and VanGorden Elementary schools this August.

Both the Fairfield Schools and the Little Miami Schools in Warren County are buying modular units from Lakota.

Fairfield is buying three two-classroom units while Little Miami is purchasing two two-classroom units, said Alan Hutchinson, Lakota's treasurer. Each unit will be sold for $1.

"We have an excess amount, and it would cost us several thousand dollars to move them off-site," Hutchinson said.

The modular units will come from Hopewell and Heritage elementary schools and from Hopewell and Liberty junior schools.

"We're looking forward to some relief," said Liz Griffel, principal at Fairfield Middle School.

Four of the modular classrooms at the middle school will be used for foreign language classes, one for math and one for language arts, Griffel said.

Enrollment at the middle school, which houses seventh- and eighth-grade classes, is expected to grow from about 1,480 students to 1,550 by the time school starts in August.

"Next year, we will have the largest seventh- and largest eighth-grade classes ever to go through this building since it became the middle school in 1997," Griffel said.

In Little Miami, new modular units are targeted for Little Miami High School and Hamilton-Maineville Elementary.

Hamilton-Maineville will receive eight classrooms - a quad unit and two other units, each containing two classrooms. The entire fourth grade will move to five modular classrooms, the media center will take up two rooms and the eighth will be used for special education, said Principal Melody Goodwin.

In the past three years, the school's enrollment has grown from 430 students to 556, Goodwin said. Enrollment is projected to grow to 610 by the fall.

Two modular units, each with two classrooms, will be placed on the east side of Little Miami High School, said Principal Dan Bennett.

"We used to see 25, 30 new students," Bennett said of the 3-year-old school. "Now we're seeing 60, 70 a year."

Projections call for the school to grow from 750 pupils to 830 for the upcoming school year and to 900 by 2004-05, Bennett said.

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