Grundy Center Schools experiencing growth - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Grundy Center Schools experiencing growth


Many small eastern Iowa schools are facing tough times with declining enrollment, which results in less state aid.  But in Grundy Center, the school district is experiencing just the opposite.  Enrollment is climbing and the elementary school is busting at its seams. 

Melisa Anderson loves small town life.  That's why she and her family moved to Grundy Center from Illinois two years ago.  They've found good jobs, affordable housing, and quality schools.

"To see a small town like this with a hospital and a school that isn't struggling and businesses that people support is really amazing," Anderson said.

She is one of a growing number of parents choosing the small community to raise a family.  Over the past few years, Grundy Center schools have added about 50 students, mostly at the elementary level.

"We have three sections of kindergarten, first and second grade.  Next year, we need another section of third grade, and the following year another section of fourth grade.  And so in order to make that happen right now, we're using all of our classroom space," said Cassandra Murra, Grundy Center superintendent.

That means starting next year, fifth graders will be moving to the middle and high school building to free up space in the elementary.  They'll be using former computer labs, which are no longer needed since that part of the district has a one-to-one initiative where all students have laptops.  The move is a much cheaper, faster alternative than bringing in modular units or constructing an addition right now.  But building on is a future possibility.

"When those younger kids move up to the middle and high school, there is going to be a potential need to build on.  But we know we've got a few years here to actually do our due diligence and look into our options to make sure we're making great decisions," said Murra.

It's a good problem for the district.  And it's one the district hopes to face as more families like the Andersons choose small town life.

Grundy Center's growth is also evident outside the district.  For example, Grundy County Memorial Hospital recently completed a major expansion of its inpatient area, emergency room, and surgical facilities.


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