Planning for Growing Enrollment
LMSD currently serves about 8600 students, which is down slightly from the 2021 student population of more than 8,700 students -- the highest level since the early 1970's. At that time, across the District, multiple schools were at or nearing capacity, requiring the use of modular classrooms and other modifications to accommodate students. It was in recognition of these factors that the Lower Merion Board of School Directors in 2018 began the land acquisition and building project that led to the opening of LMSD’s 11th school, Black Rock Middle School, in September 2022.
When BRMS opened, grade levels were also reconfigured, with fifth grade moving to the middle level. With one fewer grade at elementary schools, and the middle school population split across three schools rather than two, some of enrollment pressure was lifted.
Prior to 2018, numerous temporary steps were taken to provide needed classroom capacity. In 2013, the Board approved four-classroom additions at both Penn Valley and Gladwyne elementary schools, a 12-classroom addition at Welsh Valley Middle School and the expansion of classroom and storage space at Bala Cynwyd Middle School. To accommodate the high school population and avoid the cost of a classroom addition at Harriton, the Board moved to re-purpose empty classrooms in the District Administration Building (formerly part of Lower Merion High School) for classroom use once again. The District also installed temporary classrooms at Penn Wynne Elementary School for 2016-17 and at Bala Cynwyd for 2017-18. These were removed when Black Rock opened.
As the District considers the implementation of full-day kindergarten, it is important to continue to look at projections of student population as a factor in considering how to allocate classroom space and funding for this and other programs. You can review enrollment projections and other relevant document in the Resources and Documents page of this section.