Planning for Growing Enrollment
LMSD enrollment is at its highest levels in more than 40 years. Opening day enrollment in 2017 approached 8,600 students for the first time since the early 1970's. LMSD is now the fastest-growing District in Pennsylvania by total number of students over the past eight years and enrollment could surpass 9,300 students in the next ten years. Growth has been in line with projections on aggregate, but several trends require careful monitoring, including slightly higher-than-expected growth at the elementary level. Across the District, multiple schools are at or nearing capacity and need additional classroom space to accommodate students.
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. These projects have been completed. Enrollment growth will also impact both Harriton and Lower Merion high schools. 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 installed temporary classrooms at Penn Wynne for 2016-17 and Bala Cynwyd for 2017-18 with an eye on possible permanent classroom expansion in the next several years. The District has also looked closely at options to address growth elsewhere as there are urgent capacity needs.
In addition to facilities and parking considerations, enrollment growth will affect programmatic planning, staffing, transportation, scheduling and other key school functions. The District is already working to address and plan for potential impacts in these areas.
For more information on enrollment growth and its impacts, please visit the links and resources in this section.