Spartanburg District Five 2020 Facilities And Demographics Study
According to recent numbers from the S.C. Department of Education, enrollment in Spartanburg District Five Schools has increased 9% over the last five years. This makes District Five the fastest growing district in all of Spartanburg County! Numbers also indicate District Five is growing at a rate that is TEN TIMES that of nearby Greenville County Schools.
Faced with this enormous enrollment growth, District Five Schools commissioned a facilities and demographics study by M.B. Kahn, a well known firm out of Columbia, S.C., in the fall of 2019. The content of that study has given the district an excellent guide, for current and future enrollment trends, as well as school and facilities needs for the next five years. The conclusion of this study is clear: District Five is growing fast, and plans must be made now to ensure the district is best serving the needs of our students, staff and community for years to come.
Overview of District Five Schools
Currently, Spartanburg District Five is home to more than 9,000 students in grades Kindergarten through 12th. The district is made up of 12 schools, geographcially divided into the northern and southern regions by Interstate 85.
Since 2000, the overall population of Spartanburg County, and the District Five community, has steadily increased. Between 2000-2019, the residential population of Spartanburg District Five has grown by more than 56%. That upward trend is expected to continue through 2024 and beyond.
Building Permits Data
Since 2014, the total number of building permits issued across the entire district, including both north and south of I-85, have more than quadrupled. This indicates that developments of all different sizes are coming to District Five, and bringing many new residents with them.
District Growth 2015-Present
Since the district's last facilities study, completed during the 2015-16 school year, the district has continued to see enrollment climb. Now, in the 2019-20 school year, our overall district student population has increased by 880 students.
As the district looks toward the future, the growth projections are staggering for the next 5 years. District wide, student enrollment is expected to increase nearly 18% by the 2024-25 school year.
School Capacity: Where We Are
At the school district's current population, there are two schools that are considered "over capacity": Beech Springs Intermediate School and Florence Chapel Middle School. For planning purposes, a building with more than 85% capacity is considered "full".
Projected Growth Through 2024-25
The current growth pattern indicates that Spartanburg District Five Schools will see more than 1,500 new students between now and the 2024-25 school year.
Impact of Projected Growth
If the district did nothing to expand current facilities, or build new ones, this type of growth would put a significant strain on our schools. Based on the projections, 10 out of 12 schools would be considered "over capacity".
The District's Plan
Based on these figures and projections, multiple concepts were developed and considered to address the growth in Spartanburg District Five Schools. Those concepts were evaluated and have been "narrowed down" according to four main considerations:
- Does it address all needs?
- Is it affordable?
- What is the impact to overall district operations?
- Does it prepare the district for the future?
Based on these questions, the concepts were narrowed down to TWO MAIN OPTIONS.
Option 1: Shifting 4th Grade to Intermediate School
Option 1 would involve shifting 4th grade students to the intermediate school level, meaning elementary schools throughout District Five would serve kindergarten through 3rd grade students only. Intermediate schools would serve 4th-6th grade.
Advantages of this system were identified as:
- No land purchase required
- Minor grade structure changes
- All elementary schools gain capacity
- Least amount of rezoning (new schools only)
- Most remaining capacity available
Disadvantages of this option could be:
- Unbalanced feeder system
- Small new middle school (compared to current)
- Fewer planned expansions available
Option 2: Omit Intermediate Grade Level
Option 2 would involve omitting the intermediate school concept altogether. 5th grade students would attend elementary schools, and 6th grade students would be shifting to the middle school level. This would mean District Five would have 8 elementary schools, and 4 middle schools, along with our Freshman Academy and high school.
The advantages of this plan have been identified as:
- Fewer student transitions
- Balanced feeder system
- Smaller schools
- Planned expansions still available
- Moderate remaining capacity available
- Least disruptive construction
Disadvantages could be:
- Land purchase required (included in estimated cost)
- Significant grade structure changes
- Moderate rezoning required
Projected costs for either option 1 or 2 is estimated at $170-180 million.
The District's Board of Trustees, along with Superintendent Randall Gary, and other district administrators will be evaluating the options in the coming weeks and months, and will move forward quickly to address the growth of Spartanburg District Five schools. The FULL FACILITIES STUDY is available on our Board of Trustees "Meeting" page.