Space needed as enrollment increases

Orange City Elementary teacher Lori Scholtens helps kindergartners Kendalyn Smith and Brynnley Leusink get started on a project. The MOC-Floyd Valley School District’s two elementary buildings are nearing capacity due to increased enrollment.

ORANGE CITY—Continued growth has the MOC-Floyd Valley School District considering construction of a one-site elementary school building.

MOC-Floyd Valley superintendent Russ Adams said the district is developing a bond referendum to be voted on in March and plans to release more details on the proposed project after Jan. 1.

Adams said the public would have to approve the bond before the project could go forward.

MOC-Floyd Valley monitors two sets of numbers — in-seat enrollment and certified enrollment.

The district’s in-seat enrollment, or the actual number of students that sit in a desk in the school buildings, is 1,415 with 661 students in transitional kindergarten-fifth grade, 342 students in sixth-eighth grade and 412 students in ninth-12th grade.

As of Oct. 23, the district’s certified enrollment for 2019-20 was 1,489.21 students, up about 30 from last year. The certified enrollment is a key since it is the figure that the state uses on which to base state funding and is used as the basis for school budgeting. Fractions are part of the certified enrollment number to account for various special needs students.

The certified enrollment showed an increase of about 30 students.

Enrollment has increased an average 18 students annually since 2011.

“If you drive through our community, you can see there are a lot of houses going up,” Adams said. “Our communities have been working to bring people into the district and evidently there are some coming.”

To meet the challenges associated with capacity the school board hired Jerry McCall with Education Consulting Services a year ago to review the district’s facilities as well as to determine needs and best steps from a programming perspective.

The school district has two elementary buildings — one in Orange City and another in Hospers.

“Both our elementary schools are close to capacity,” Adams said. “They’re landlocked and they’re aging. The original portion of the Orange City Elementary building is about 100 years old. They’ve both been maintained extraordinarily well but creating a one-site elementary would not only replace the aging buildings but also help us better accommodate for the growth as the years unfold. Looking at the housing and goals of the communities, I assume our enrollment will continue.”

Adams said the board is considering a location owned by the city of Orange City between the cities of Alton and Orange City, but a real estate purchase has not yet been made.

He also said there is potential second life for the Orange City and Hospers elementary buildings depending on how the project progresses but no decisions have been made yet. District and city officials are collaborating to determine possible partnerships regarding the facilities.

“We’re continuing to work with an architect team and are in the process of developing a community lead team and we hope to release more information after the first of the year,” Adams said. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the district.”