School facilities study planned

Langley Middle School and the district office could be sold at some future date to consolidate the South Whidbey School District on Maxwelton Road. Home schoolers and other programs now in portables could be pushed into existing classrooms at the high school.

Could such scenarios happen? Maybe.

Faced with declining enrollment and dwindling budgets, South Whidbey School District officials may be faced with some decisions that could include closing and moving some schools.

"There are more questions than answers at this point," said Superintendent Bob Brown.

A committee headed by Brown will analyze existing facilities and how they best suit the future needs of the district. The committee will present its findings to the board this spring.

"In order to efficiently manage the district's present and future needs, we are developing a complete look at our facilities," Brown said.

Brown pointed out that Langley Middle School, located just blocks from the heart of Langley, is a very valuable property.

The committee's study is expected to cover a 10-year period and be developed in conjunction with local comprehensive land-use plans and growth management policies.

"The goal is to present a comprehensive look at the district's capacities and all of its programs. What does the district have now, and what is our projected enrollment for the next 10 years?" Brown said.

Other considerations include building a new school on the 40 acres behind the Intermediate School.

The committee includes John Willson, acting director of transportation and maintenance, and other district staff and community members.

"With declining enrollment and decreasing budgets, we want to know how best to utilize the space we have," Willson said.

Currently, there are six empty classrooms in the district.

The committee will develop a plan of acquisition, construction or modifications of new sites and existing facilities, and how to best meet the needs of the next generation of students.

"These final decisions will be made by others after we are gone from the district," Brown said.

The South Whidbey School District was consolidated in 1942. Today, the district has 134 classrooms on 139.4 acres.

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