As Woodbury prepares for over the next decade, District 833 officials are keeping an eye on future attendance needs.
Mike Vogel, assistant to the superintendent for operations, said South Washington County Schools officials meet regularly with Woodbury and Cottage Grove leaders about future growth.
Woodbury’s Phase 2 is near East Ridge High School, but Vogel said he doesn’t expect the new development will have much of an impact at the high school in the near term.
“Most families don’t move when their kids are at that age,” he said.
Instead, the district expects the immediate need to come at the elementary and middle school levels.
Much of Phase 2 falls in the Bailey Elementary boundary, Vogel said, and the school has space for a couple hundred more students. As for needs further into the future, the district is taking a “wait and see approach,” he said.
When it comes to middle school students, much of Phase 2 is in the Woodbury Middle School boundary, and Vogel acknowledged there might be some resistance from families because Lake Middle School is closer to the area.
“But Lake is also full,” he said.
In the coming years, the district may look at expanding Woodbury Middle School, creating a two-story link between the middle school and Woodbury Elementary, or have portions of the elementary school opened up for middle school classes, Vogel said.
Nothing has been presented to the school board on those fronts, he said.
Meanwhile, the district has also been looking at acquiring Crosswinds Arts and Science School, which has faced issues with funding and declining enrollment and could be closed. Vogel said its proximity to other schools doesn’t make it the most attractive option, “but it might provide us with some opportunities to be creative.”
East Ridge High School is near its 1,870-student capacity, Vogel said. However, a large senior class of about 550 students will soon graduate and be replaced by an incoming class of about 440 students, giving the district some leeway in terms of attendance.
Vogel said he has a large map of future development plans and “we are working hand in hand with the city.”