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AISD nearing largest enrollment ever

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Amarillo, TX - Amarillo ISD is nearing the largest enrollment it's ever had and now big changes are underway.

"It will be two stories and there will be four classrooms on each floor," says Chris Altman, Principal, Margaret Wills Elementary School.

It's the consistent growth of student enrollment that's triggering the growth of six campuses within AISD, because keeping up with the high demand had started to become a struggle for them.

"Currently we have four portables on our campus and each one has two classrooms. That's because we are out of space in the building. As I look back at our numbers, our enrollment numbers over the past five years, we have grown by about 180 students," says Chris Altman, Principal, Margaret Wills Elementary School.

The entire district has grown by around 3,000 students.

This has caused every campus to become more "creative," by not only using portables, but converting storage closets and auditorium stages into small classrooms.

A portable classroom is around 650 sq. ft., compared to a regular elementary school classroom which is a minimum requirement of 700 sq. ft.

That's why the district is hoping to get as many students as they can into a permanent location, resulting in the AISD's Board of Trustees recently approving 11.7 million dollars for renovations.

"Another exciting thing is when they build additions to schools now, they're all built for the 21st century. They are wired for technology and the smart-boards are part of the classroom," says Chris Altman, Principal, Margaret Wills Elementary School. 

This initial phase will mean a total of 38 new classrooms and an environment AISD says, is more conducive to learning.

"Right now the district does have a committee that's evaluating what's going on at the campuses as far as growth. So we're going to really be evaluating this, investigating and trying to really plan for the future," says Holly Shelton, AISD.

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