Superintendent Dr. Kent Edwards reported that the state Department of Education, when looking at the system's projected enrollment for the next five years, suggested an additional 25 classrooms for the elementary school and 17 for the high school.
The state said the middle and junior high schools "should be fine as they are," Edwards said.
The superintendent told the board that he brought the issue up mainly as a starting point for the conversation, to set a timeline when certain decisions should be made. The board will discuss the finer details of the plan in July at the board retreat, Edwards said.
"We're a bit of an anomaly because while every other system has been losing students, we've been growing significantly," Edwards said. "Which is an exciting challenge — one I'm glad to have."
Edwards said the system has grown by about 450 students in the past three years — what he called "about the number of a good-sized elementary school."
The system reported a substantial increase in student enrollment to the DOE in October, with 191 more students attending a school in the city system over last year.
The system’s four schools have a full-time equivalent number of 4,873 for the school year, taken in October. Last year, the system had 4,682 students, meaning a 4 percent increase in the number of students occurred over a year.
Grades seeing particular growth, Edwards said, are the early elementary grades, with classes exceeding 400 students each.
“We are extremely proud of these numbers, but, as we said in our summer meetings, we need to start talking about how big we want to get,” Edwards said in November, when the enrollment numbers were first announced.
Two of the options mentioned Thursday were making the elementary and high schools multi-story buildings or building a remote elementary school.
Both options have pros and cons, Edwards said, with the board seeming to lean more toward the multi-story idea than any other discussed.
Board member David Godwin voiced an opinion on the remote location option with which several board members agreed, saying that one of the advantages of the city system was having all of the students in one central campus.
"I just wanted to get this conversation started — I don't want us to make any kind of decision now, that's for sure," Edwards said. "We'll be bringing you some recommendations on the timeline for this and how we are going to do this as the months go by."
Edwards also reported on a potential partnership with the Carroll County Boys and Girls Club, currently housed in the Old Maple Street School building.
Since the system will be moving its alternative learning to an Ombudsman Program offsite in the fall, Edwards said the New Horizons facility (where the alternative program was previously headquartered) was an option the club is "very excited about."
Edwards said the club using the New Horizons facility would be a "win-win," with the club taking over maintenance and operations costs.
The system and the Boys and Girls Club would enter into a memorandum of understanding, Edwards said, to show that the two parties will be willing to work together to improve the state of the program in the county.
"We're not looking to make money or generate any revenue from this, but we also don't want it to be an expense," the superintendent said. "So if they will take over those costs, they will be very excited to head in our direction."
Also during the work session, the board was visited by Truman Atkins, regional president of Cenergistic Energy Solutions, an energy conversation company.
Atkins presented the board with a plaque denoting that three of the system's school facilities have been awarded the Energy Star certification, an international standard for energy efficiency.
The school system started a partnership with Cenergistic in 2010, with Atkins reporting that the system has reduced its energy costs by 27 percent since then.
"It takes the efforts of every employee at all facilities," Atkins said. "There's always some little thing that can be done, and your staff and faculty have done those small things the past three years."
The certification was for the system's middle, junior high and high schools, Atkins said.