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Published: Tuesday, 3/15/2005

Rossford schools told to prepare for growth

Rossford schools could gain 540 students over the next 10 years, according to a study by an architecture and planning firm that presented its findings to the Rossford Board of Education last night.

The projection is based on the average rate of growth over the last 10 years and the new construction of multifamily dwellings in the district, according to the study.

Rossford has about 1,975 students this year. That could rise on average about 50 students a year, topping out at 2,518 students in 2015, according to MKC Associates Inc., the architecture and planning firm in Mansfield.

There are 2,736 housing units in the district, with plans for up to 2,000 more, MKC reported.

Though the study concludes that the district will grow significantly over a 10-year period, some board members called for an early analysis of enrollment levels in the district next year.

"We need to look at our enrollment in order to have some options of what we're going to do next year," said Richard Hotz, a board member.

The board agreed to put together a task force of community members who will work with the board to tackle the issue of how to accommodate its growing student body.

Superintendent Luci Gernot said the board of education is taking steps to educate the community and to develop a plan that will tackle the needs of the growing district.

"We have already been collecting data from focus groups, school, and parent surveys," she said, noting that the community will respond "if we show them what we're talking about."

The growth could trigger renovating or replacing buildings or building additional facilities, according to the report.

Dave Southward, a former superintendent of the Mount Vernon City Schools, told the board the new students will come from the homes being built.

"Your community is growing and you need to prepare for it in terms of having the proper facilities," he said.

Mr. Southward discussed similar challenges that faced the school district he used to run in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

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