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Farmington School District moves forward with boundary change study

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The Farmington School District will move forward and review boundary changes to be implemented in the 2019-2020 school year.

Back in October, the school board discussed potential boundary changes. The board agreed to move forward and review many factors involved with changing school boundaries.

Jane Houska, district finance director, updated the school board on the boundary changes and potential school start times at the Monday, Nov. 13, board meeting.

A committee met to review the need for a capacity study and will evaluate how each Farmington school is currently used to educate students.

Houska provided the board with a brief update on future housing development underway in both Farmington and neighboring Lakeville as each city plans to update its 2040 comprehensive plan.

Housing on the horizon

Houska said residential growth on the horizon will impact enrollment in Farmington Public Schools.

In Lakeville, with the ongoing housing development called Pheasant Run Phase 1 and Phase 2 there are plans to build 94 single family homes. In the future, with Phase 3, the developer predicts there will be 99 single family homes with a value of $300,000 to $400,000.

"They are looking at the building development out three to five years," Houska said.

Future homes in Pheasant Run would affect both North Trail Elementary and Dodge Middle School student bodies.

"This is also hinged on the economy, housing developments and interest rate, and if one variable changes," Houska said, adding how the economy could affect housing projections.

East of Pheasant Run is another housing development in Lakeville called Pleasant Run owned by the same developer, Houska said. Projections are for 150 single family homes and 58 townhomes in the next five to seven years.

The Pleasant Run development in Lakeville will mean more students attending Akin Road Elementary and Dodge Middle School in Farmington.

In Farmington, there are a few new housing developments planned in the next year or two that could mean more students in area schools.

At the upcoming Fairhill Estates development west of Highway 3 and south of 195th Street, there are going to be 220 single family homes priced at the low-to-mid $300,000 price range that will be built in the fall of 2018.

The Fairhill Estates housing development will mean more students for Riverview Elementary and Boeckman Middle School.

The new housing development called Regetta Fields will be built on farmland south of Farmington High School in the fall of 2018. There will be 61 single family homes in two phases. These homes will be priced in the low-to-mid $300,000 range. This housing will mean more students attending Boeckman Middle School and Meadowview Elementary.

The 655 acres of farmland located off Flagstaff Avenue due to end of the agricultural preserve government program,

Houska said there is the potential for more housing in the years to come on 655 acres of farmland off Flagstaff Avenue.

Building capacity study

The last building capacity study in the Farmington School District 192 was conducted in 2012, Houska said, although there were minor tweaks in 2014 and 2015 prior to the referendum.

The architectural firm Wold Architects that has been working on many building projects in the district has agreed to conduct a building capacity study for no charge, Houska said.

The district building capacity study will take two to three weeks, Houska estimated.

"They will be connecting with the schools and looking at how they are using the space and be making educated decisions on how to use the buildings," Houska said.

The district will bring together two independent groups to examine potential future boundary changes and school start times, Houska said.

The committees will work late into this winter and into spring of 2018.

The timeline calls for plans to be shared and brought to the community by late summer or early fall.

Houska projects boundary and school time changes will be brought back to the school board by next December 2018.

After hearing the capacity study and feedback from the two groups, the school board will decide if there needs to be boundary changes.

Back in 2009, the district reviewed school start times and made changes before the new Farmington High School opened.

Houska said the district understands how school start times affect family routines and home life.