Board Listens To, Discusses Space Concerns at Sartell Middle School

The Sartell-St. Stephen School Board listened to and discussed space crunches within district schools at its meeting on Monday, February 22.  Currently, there are 1,241 students at Sartell Middle School.  In the 2016-2017 school year, without any enrollment increases, there will be 1,305 students.  That does not account for the typical bump the district sees with its student population in the 5th grade year.  With an anticipated minimum of an additional 60 students at Sartell Middle School, the board looked at possibilities and options on how the staff will work to reconfigure the space to meet the learning needs of our 5th through 8th graders.

“We are looking into a variety of options to make due for next year.  With space already being tight, and more students being at Sartell Middle School next year, we need to continue to do what’s best for our students with the accommodations we currently have,” shared Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert.

Some of the options discussed at the meeting included moving the media center to a smaller location and dividing that room into multiple spaces for classroom learning by putting up temporary walls, transforming the current general music and piano keyboarding room into two smaller rooms and having additional staff use carts to move instructional materials to different classrooms throughout the day.  Other areas discussed, that are already multiuse spaces, included the current staff lounge, the Family and Consumer Sciences area and the Technology Education lab.

“Our staff is amazing and will continue to do what is best for our students.  With our space crunch, we will have to be even more flexible,” Kurt Stumpf, Sartell Middle School principal commented.  “The staff will have ongoing discussions and explore these options.  We will continue providing high quality educational programming at SMS despite the additional space issues.”  

“So far this school year, we have had a net gain of 68 additional new students that have joined the Sartell-St. Stephen School District at Sartell Middle School alone.  In 2014, we added three additional classrooms.  We were, and continue to be, aware of enrollment growth districtwide,” described Schwiebert.  “It is overcrowded right now.  It’s a good situation that we have so many students and families that want to be part of our school district.  But it is a problem, not only at Sartell Middle School, but across the district.”