DPS talks with Parks and Rec about growth
Dickinson Parks and Recreation and Dickinson Public Schools are in conversation about land that could be used to accommodate the school district's growth.
"It's just a conversation. There is no decision to be made now whatsoever. There are no definite plans on land or a facility," said Doug Sullivan, superintendent of DPS. "We're uncertain about what our enrollment might be, and we're just looking to the future and preparing for enrollment increases."
Since February 2009, Sullivan said enrollment has grown by 273 students. In the last month alone, he said 38 new students have enrolled in grades K-8.
The enrollment at Hagen Junior High School is also estimated to reach 532 students by 2020.
That is a growth of 129 students from the 2012 estimated student enrollment.
But Vince Reep, DPS assistant superintendent, said at Monday's regular school board meeting that long-term enrollment projections are difficult to determine.
"It's going to be tough to prepare for more than just a year at a time," he said. "It's really hard to predict enrollment in a boom economy, and we're right in the middle of one."
James Kramer, director of Dickinson Parks and Recreation, said Parks and Recreation has been in talks with the DPS for a few months about locating land for a future school.
"We are working with district as far as potential land that we get when we work with developers," Kramer said.
"We're just working with developers in general, keeping in mind that the school might need between 25 and 30 acres. One potential development site that size is the 59 Bypass, but we have a long list of sites and there are more potentially to come. There is no specific location right now, though, and we're far, far from that."
This would not be the first land deal between Parks and Recreation and the school district.
"We worked jointly on the playground of Prairie Rose Elementary," Kramer said. "This way, we both get a playground for that area. The search for this land is the exact same concept. We together and build one facility we can both use, instead of duplicating facilities."
Kramer said discussions about a possible land purchase were sparked by the realization that the north complex baseball diamonds were one of the school district's "last properties for potential growth."
"We want keep that facility but help find land for a future school," he said.