Local middle school faces overcrowding

HOLTON, Kan. (KSNT) — Too many students, not enough space.

Holton Middle School is facing overcrowding problems and the school district is looking for a solution.

Science teacher Travis Henry has taught at Holton Middle School for seven years. Lately he’s had to get creative with his small science classroom.

“I have counters and I have counter space, so we have kids sitting on counter tops or I’ll change the chairs out and we’ll sit on the floor, or we’ll sit out in the hallway,” Henry said. “Sometimes we’ll be out of the room. Half of us will move and go do something else while the other half is doing something in the room.”

The 40-year-old school building is designed to hold around 240 students. That’s about 80 students for each of its three grades. But next year’s 6th grade class could have as many as 100 students.

As it is, there’s not room for the school to offer art classes or home economics.

And the band class is already full.

Holton Schools Superintendent Bob Davies said it shows how the town is growing.

“Having overcrowding may not sound like a great problem, but it’s better than the alternative,” Davies said.

He’s looking for a place to house next year’s 6th grade class. One possibility is the elementary school.

“This annex building at the elementary school’s currently being used as office space, but it could be turned into classrooms for the 6th grade class.”

Henry said apart from space issues, things are going well at the school. He’s concerned splitting the 6th grade off from the middle school building would make it difficult to prepare the students for high school.

“I’d be a little nervous if we had to break that up, because I think that’s just going to break off a little of our flow,” Davies said.

Superintendent Davies wants to make sure they do what’s best for the students.

“We want to get everybody’s input and make the right decision, not a knee-jerk decision,” he said.

He said he would like to have a plan for next year by March. He said the district is looking at a couple of other options as well, such as adding onto the middle school or renovating an old middle school building.

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