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Mankato School District Says New Middle School Is Needed

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MANKATO, Minn. -

As the greater Mankato area continues to grow, many classrooms, halls, and lunchrooms are getting steadily more crowded.

This school year, there are almost 4,300 students enrolled in kindergarten through sixth grade in the district. Five years from now that number is expected to grow by around 500.

Allen said, "When you have 30 more students 40 more that adds up and we start to see that capacity when you look at or K–5buildings."

Allen said the district has already been shifting boundaries to alleviate pressure on Washington and Hoover Elementary schools. Even so, Hoover is currently 86 students over capacity, and it's a problem that isn't going away.

Allen said, "When we look at our continued growth it has been 1% over the past 10 years, and now we are hitting 2% and a little more and the next five years so that growth continues."

Last January the district put together a community facility–planning group to assess the district's needs.

Allen said, "As the group came together, the realization was that we need middle school space on the east and west side of our community."

Middle schools with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in one building would mean less pressure on both the elementary and high schools. In the west it would be at Dakota Meadows and a brand new building would be needed in the east.

Allen said, "These are the initial pieces, staff will be involved with this, parents and so, as we move through this journey."

Allen said there are still plenty of details to workout and the earliest time a proposal would be brought to voters is next fall.