Henry County Schools shares classroom capacity study findings

Henry County Schools hired MGT Consulting Group in fall 2019 to complete a classroom capacity and utilization study for the school district. The study reviewed existing classroom usage during the 2019–20 school year. It also forecast future enrollment and space needs.

The results of the study helped determine the 2021 education SPLOST project list. More on that at the end of the article.

District Enrollment & Classroom Capacity

Henry County Schools had a student enrollment of 42,466 students at the time of the study. This reflects a growth rate of 5.16% since 2010–11. District enrollment is projected to increase 6.6% over the next ten years to 45,752 students in year 2030.

Chart showing Henry County Schools district classroom capacity and usage rates in the years 2020, 2025 and 2030 (school district photo).
(Henry County Schools photo)

A school’s classroom capacity is the number of students a building can serve. The utilization rate divides the current or projected enrollment of a school by its capacity.

Within Henry County Schools, the district-wide utilization rate is 69% as of 2020. This rate will increase to an estimated 72% of capacity in 2025 and 74% by year 2030.

District-wide classroom capacity is available to support the projected enrollment of 3,000 new students through year 2030. The needs and projects discussed below address concerns at specific schools.

School-Level Enrollment

Elementary school enrollment is consistent, decreasing two percent from 2010 to 2017. It is projected to increase by 439 students (2.5%) between 2020 and 2030. Out of the district’s twenty-eight elementary schools, only two will see an estimated utilization rate of 95% or greater in the years 2025 or 2030.

Much of the district’s forecast growth will occur in middle and high schools. Enrollment is expected to increase by 7.8% in middle schools (837 students) and 9.7% in high schools (1,563 students) through year 2030.

Individual Schools’ Usage Rate

Three schools had a usage rate of 95% or greater during the 2019–20 school year. The study estimates another five schools will pass 95% in either the years 2025 or 2030.

2019–2020 Actuals
  • Dutchtown Middle – 96%
  • Dutchtown High – 101%
  • Ola Middle – 98%
2025 Projected
  • Dutchtown Middle – 102%
  • Dutchtown High – 114%
  • Locust Grove High – 97%
  • Wesley Lakes Elementary – 102%
  • Ola Middle – 109%
  • Ola High – 100%
  • Union Grove Middle – 99%
2030 Projected
  • Dutchtown Middle – 104%
  • Dutchtown High – 115%
  • Unity Grove Elementary – 96%
  • Locust Grove High – 101%
  • Ola Middle – 109%
  • Ola High – 103%

Schools not listed above have below 95% use rates through year 2030.

Education SPLOST VI

Henry County Schools developed the current education SPLOST VI program in part through the results above. E-SPLOST VI has about $150 million dollars worth of new classroom capacity projects. These projects represent both new schools and classroom additions. Voters approved E-SPLOST VI in spring 2021.

Specifically, E-SPLOST VI includes two new elementary schools, six classroom additions at middle & high schools and one new STEM high school. All of these projects will be complete by 2028.

Chart showing school utilization rates before and after the education SPLOST VI projects (Henry County Schools photo).
(Henry County Schools photo)

When the projects above are complete, Education SPLOST VI will address all of the capacity concerns identified by the study. The chart above shows the updated school usage rates after the classroom capacity projects are complete.

Information about E-SPLOST VI projects at any particular school is available on the school district website. The program includes projects at every school, including those not receiving capacity upgrades.

Article originally published in December 2020. It has been updated in August 2022 with details about E-SPLOST VI.

About Clayton 1035 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. Since 2017, he has written over 1,000 articles sharing local updates with the community.