Meeting Puts Harrisonburg Overcrowding in the Spotlight

Overcrowding is becoming more of an issue in Harrisonburg and on Thursday night the issue will be the topic of a meeting.

The Lucy Simms Center is being discussed as a location to send elementary school students to as a way to ease the load off other local schools.

The surge in enrollment over the last several years is spurring the plans.

Over the last five years, elementary enrollment has increased by around 700 students in the city.

As a way to fix the problem, a plan is being discussed to open up classrooms at the Lucy Simms Center.

Part of the preliminary plan also calls for an extension to be added to the building, which would add six multi-purpose rooms.

Early plans have the extension being put where a roundabout currently is in the parking lot.

What's raising some concerns about the plan is how Lucy Simms is used for community programs during the day.

A local branch of the Boys & Girls Club has their offices in the building, and the facility also houses a teen center.

On Thursday night, the balance between school and community programs is expected to be a key topic brought up at the meeting.

"I think the community would welcome the use of the building as a school," explained Lee Foerster, who's the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department in Harrisonburg. His department helps oversee the operations at Lucy Simms.

"I also think they would like to see our programs continued to be built. The planning is still preliminary. To my understanding, they're still considering other options."

Dr. Scott Kizner, who's the Superintendent of Harrisonburg schools, has come out saying the community programs will continue no matter what the city decides to do about overcrowding.

Thursday night's meeting begins at 7:30pm at the Lucy Simms Center.


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