Preliminary data gathered during a facility study of the Walled Lake Consolidated School District’s elementary schools shows that most of the elementary school classrooms are under-capacity.
Plante Moran, the firm conducting the study, reported their preliminary findings of the utilization of the district’s 14 elementary schools and five support buildings to the Board of Education last month.
According to Walled Lake Schools’ Director of Community Relations Judy Evola, the district is conducting the study to “best ensure that we are utilizing our buildings’ space in the most cost-effective, efficient ways and that our facilities balance with our enrollment and curricular needs.”
Bill Chatfield, the district’s director of operations, said the study is “really in its preliminary stages.”
He added, “The purpose of the study is to do a thorough and complete assessment to determine the capacity and actual utilization of the buildings. When all that data is finalized, then we will be able to determine if there are any opportunities to consolidate buildings and staff.”
Depending on the final data, one possibility would be to close an elementary school. However, while Chatfield acknowledges that as a possibility, he said there is no way of knowing what will happen at this time.
“That is the reason we are conducting the study,” he said. “With the decreasing enrollment trend, practically speaking it would lead one to think that we would be under-utilized at some point.”
According to Plante Moran’s preliminary findings, the elementary schools are at 83 percent capacity, with a current enrollment of 6,618. The current enrollment capacity is 7,884.
Over the next five years, enrollment is projected to drop to 5,999 elementary school students. This would lower the enrollment capacity to 76 percent.
Plante Moran’s presentation can be found at www.wlcsd.org.
Evola said the district will be providing multiple opportunities to share information with the community, but administrators are waiting for all the preliminary numbers and information to be finalized.
“(Plante Moran) is still meeting with building principals and still conducting thorough assessments of the elementaries and support buildings,” she said.
Evola said she believes the district will be able to send information to the public sometime this month.