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The trend continues

CCA can expect enrollment growth to continue through 202x
Work is in progress on another addition to the Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin. The project is the final undertaking funded by a $36 million bond issue approved by voters in 2017. Taxpayers in the district may be asked to approve another bond for additional building projects as early as next year as enrollment projections continue to show steady growth.

OXFORD– As the COVID-19 crisis seems to be fading, the school board of directors and administrative team of the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Community School District will soon put the spotlight again on space needs.
The district received its latest enrollment forecast from RSP in January, and board members reviewed it during a Feb. 3 work session. RSP has provided enrollment analysis and projections for the district since 2014 and guided facilities planning committees and attendance area boundary discussions.
“RSP is still forecasting CCA to grow at approximately 200 students per year,” said Superintendent Tim Kuehl. “They said we were one of few districts, even among those with historical growth, that saw significant enrollment growth this fall. We will be cranking up facilities planning, as we will likely need a bond issue for vote in 2022, Tiffin Elementary and North Bend Elementary will be over capacity in the next few years.”
RSP’s forecast anticipates the district’s enrollment increasing from its current 2,812 students to around 4,000 students by the 2025-2026 school year, and around 4,760 by 2030-31. Kindergartners are the driving force, with enrollment ranging from 270 to 370 students, elementary students increasing by about 650, and middle school and high school student numbers increasing by approximately 250 and 200, respectively. In the statistical analysis, RSP discovered Johnson County increased in the percentage of kindergartners (five years after birth) for the previous 10 years and had the highest percentage in 2020-21. Also, the number of live births was 19 percent higher in 2018 than in 2005, while Iowa County saw an 11.5 percent decrease in 2018 from 2005.
The district welcomed 189 new students in 2020-21, one less than in the 2019-20 school year, and 52 less than the 241 new students received in 2018-19. On the flip side, students migrating out of the district, CCA saw 200 students leave in the current year, consistent with 199 last year, and 196 in 2018-19 for a total migration (in and out) of -11 for the current year.
According to the report, the district did not see a significant impact on its enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and noted CCA started the current school year with onsite learning for pre-kindergarten (PK) through eighth grade, and a 50-50 hybrid model for the high school.
There continues to be a considerable amount of development in the district with 20 planning areas examined with a potential of 2,652 housing units in a mix of single family, multi-unit, townhomes and multi-family. The report noted some, such as Aster Village At Park Place, have a tentative completion date over the next three years in two phases, while others, such as Park Place City Center Part 1, have an anticipated five-to-seven year build out. As would be expected, the district’s growth areas are in Tiffin, North Liberty and Coralville with an eye on the Centennial Park neighborhood in North Liberty and the West Land Use Area in Coralville.
In its analysis of North Liberty, RSP found the number of students has increased by 208.5 percent since 2010 while development increased by 66.8 percent over the same period. Roughly 75 percent of the residential development in North Liberty is of multi-family units, RSP noted. North Liberty is split between CCA and the Iowa City Community School District, with CCA covering the western edge. Tiffin, the report stated, saw an increase in students of 187.1 percent since 2010 while overall development increased by 146.5 percent.
RSP listed a number of general observations regarding development, including: building activity continued to increase but has slowed from 2019-20 (likely due to the pandemic); new multi-family residential development continues to be more prevalent in the last 10 years; single-family residential developments have the highest propensity to have school-aged students; the majority of residential development will be concentrated in Coralville, North Liberty and Tiffin; affordable housing is the key to the future of the district; and over the next three years building permit activity is expected to be between 200-350 units.
School building capacity is determined in two ways: instructional capacity and structural capacity, with instructional being the maximum for ideal conditions, and structural being the maximum which can be safely accommodated. District wide, RSP anticipates elementary instructional capacity being exceeded by the 2025-26 school year with Clear Creek in Oxford exceeding in 2024, North Bend in Tiffin exceeding as early as 2022-23, and Tiffin exceeding in 2022-23 and being over the structural capacity by 2024. The “ideal” high school capacity is between 1,200 and 1,800 students with 300 per grade (ninth-12th). An addition currently under construction at the high school, to be in use in 2022, will increase the instructional capacity to 1,200, and the structural capacity to 1,400.
RSP’s report noted capacity calculations may need to change to address what has been learned from COVID-19, with smaller, cohort class sizes and increased distance between desks and tables.
RSP recommended the district determine an elementary facility timeline for 2023-24 with a new school site determined at the latest by 2022-23. The report also stated the district needs to purchase land for future elementary buildings. The City of Coralville previously proposed locating a school in the West Land Use Area, but nothing concrete has been determined. The middle school needs to be addressed by 2025-26 with an eye toward 2027-28. CCA has the option of putting yet another addition onto the building, which could increase capacity to 1,200 students. The high school needs a decision made by 2027-28 with an eye toward space needs in 2030-31.
The district last sought voter approval to issue bonds for construction projects in 2017 in the amount of $36 million, which was used to build Oak Hill Elementary School in Tiffin, expand parking at the middle school/high school campus in Tiffin, paid for HVAC and security upgrades at Amana Elementary, built a new gymnasium and a kitchen expansion for Clear Creek Elementary in Oxford, and the second expansion of the high school.