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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 24, 2014, 07:37 PM

Lake Park Audubon Elementary can't seem to accommodate for growing number of children

Audubon, MN (WDAY TV) - Space for students at Lake Park Audubon Elementary is shrinking as more and more kids move into the district - so much so that they're having lunches in the hallways and using the band room for extra space.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Audubon, MN (WDAY TV) - Space for students at Lake Park Audubon Elementary is shrinking as more and more kids move into the district - so much so that they're having lunches in the hallways and using the band room for extra space.

Sam Skaaland - LP-A Elementary Principal: “We have to have room for them, so something has to be done”

At Lake Park Audubon Elementary, growing pains are no longer just coming in spurts.

Anne Braseth - Early Childhood Coordinator: “I've been teaching here and this is my 15th year. It has just grown so much in the last few years.”

School enrollment is on schedule to top 400 students in the next two years.

Sam Skaaland: “50 or 60 kids in a couple of years for a small school, can be a pretty large number”

It's leaving district officials trying to keep up. Next year alone, they're expecting about 70 kindergarteners in the district.

Sam Skaaland: “It stresses the building out. We're having three sections of each class, kindergarten through third grade.”

That's up from only two sections in years past. Early childhood is one of the crowded spots, along with special ed.

Sam Skaaland: “Special needs is an area that is continually expanding. Seems like autism rates and rates for other special ed needs are increasing.”

Anne Braseth: “Finding more classrooms just gets tougher and tougher.”

The district just renovated and added on to this building back in 2011, but all of that extra space has already been used up.

Sam Skaaland: “We're using our band room for small group math classes right now and we need another classroom. And one of the things that we're doing is closing one of our computer labs.”

School board members approved the remodel to make room for these youngsters and a small special education room.

Anne Braseth: “It's really nice to have their support and be able to move things around so that we are able to accommodate all the kids we have coming in.”

So to keep class sizes low.. They hope these remodeling plans will work...

Sam Skaaland: “You have to have a classroom; you have to have a space for them. That's our dilemma right now.”

At least for a few years.

District officials plan to have the project done by next school year... Still no word on costs, but they do not plan to ask taxpayers for additional funding.

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