Now the fourth largest school district in the state behind only Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) continues to grow with each passing school year. During last week’s meeting of the Olentangy Board of Education, an update was given on the enrollment projections for the district over the next decade.
Olentangy’s enrollment projections showed a total of 22,744 students expected across all grades for the 2021-22 school year. According to the enrollment report, there are 22,573 students enrolled in the district this year, a 0.75% decrease from the original projection. Angie Bryant, a member of the district’s Facilities Committee, said of the actual figure compared to the projections, “We think that’s pretty good.”
Enrollment projections show a total of 22,967 students for the 2022-23 school year and 23,365 students in 2o23-24. In 2025-26, enrollment numbers are expected to surpass the 24,000-student mark with a projected 24,273 students being enrolled PreK-12.
Those figures continue to climb to 25,331 for the 2027-28 school year and 26,304 in 2029-30. By the 2031-32 school year, the district’s total enrollment is expected to be upwards of 27,371 students.
Over the past 10 years, enrollment in the district has increased by 5,000 students from its 2011-12 figure of 17,034 students. In the 10 years to come, the district is projecting to add an additional 4,404 students by the 2031-32 school year.
According to the Delaware County Regional Planning Commission, the total population within the school district increased by 28% from 2010-20, with a student population growth of 37% over that same span. The commission is projecting a total population increase of 22% this decade, with a student population growth of 21%.
Bryant called estimating the kindergarten enrollment “the biggest thing we do” for enrollment projections. She said the numbers are based on the single-family permits in the district from August of one year to the following August. Typically, the committee estimates around 700 new housing permits each year, she said. During the 2018-19 school year, there were 587 new permits in the district and, despite the pandemic, that number has continued to increase.
“We were surprised last year during COVID that the numbers went up to 605, and then they jumped a lot this year to 802,” Bryant said of the permits in the district. “This caused us to change how we were tapering our estimates going forward in the in the future years.”
Enrollment projections are a primary tool used by the district to evaluate the need for additional buildings. Bryant said that with the opening of Shale Meadows Elementary this year, the district has “plenty of (elementary) classrooms” available, at least for a few years, across the district’s 16 elementary schools. The report shows 503 total elementary classrooms available for the 2022-23 year, giving the district 44 additional classrooms than the total needed.
However, as of the 2025-26 school year, the district projects just nine additional classrooms available compared to the projected enrollment. As of the following year, the projections show the district to be at a deficit in available elementary classrooms by eight rooms. Bryant said that, initially, the district’s 17th elementary school was expected to be needed by the 2023-24 school year. Now, she said the expectation is for the new building to be needed in the 2025-26 school year.
While the timeline for the 17th elementary school has been extended, Bryant said elementary schools 18 and 19 won’t be far behind it by the time it’s built. According to the report, elementary school 18 is projected to be needed for the 2027-28 school year, and the 19th school for the 2030-31 year.
With work on the district’s sixth middle school already started, the district will soon be adding an additional 46 classrooms for the 2023-24 school year. The building will come online just as the district would have been hitting a deficit in available middle school classrooms. The new middle school will give the district an appropriate number of additional classrooms through the 2029-30 year before the next school might be needed. However, Bryant added there is the possibility the next middle school won’t be needed over the span of the 10-year projections.
As for the high school projections, there is no anticipated need for another high school over the 10-year report.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.