By the numbers: When Harrisburg will need a second high school or another addition

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HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — The Harrisburg School District is growing fast and the latest enrollment projects are putting emphasis on the timeframe until the current high school is at capacity.

The current capacity of Harrisburg High School is 1,200. After an addition that is currently being built is complete, the school will have a capacity of 1,700. That will be likely passed in the 2023-2024 school year.

Growth at the high school is anywhere from 3-9%. The superintendent used 5% in his presentation to the school board.

Superintendent Tim Graf presented the numbers to the school board Monday night.

To come up with the projections, Graf used the current enrollment numbers of middle and elementary classes then added on a 5 percent growth rate. He said over the last several years the high school has seen a growth from 3.5 to 9.5 percent.

“We do have other (housing) developments already being planned,” Graf said. “You might see higher than 5 percent.”

Graf said some of these developments may not be starter homes and could move high schoolers into the district making the growth even higher.

Board members are visiting Shakopee Public Schools this month to see their academies concept. This could lay the groundwork for what either an expanded high school or second high school could look like.

School board vice-chairperson Linda Heerde said she is excited for the Shakopee visit.

“We have always been synonymous with innovation,” Heerde said.

As reported earlier Monday, the Harrisburg School District has seen record growth over the past two decades. In fact, from 2000 to 2019 the district is up 577 percent in enrollment.

The district has soared to the third-largest in the state, just behind Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

The board also began discussions about boundaries ahead of the seventh elementary school from opening. They expect a committee to be formed in October.

A Monday evening school board meeting in Harrisburg.

The board didn’t make any decisions on Monday regarding the future of the high school.