Sioux Falls, SD
Students at one Sioux Falls Catholic School are dealing with a dramatic shift.
Two years ago, St. Joseph Cathedral School closed because of a dwindling student population, and a majority of students moved to St. Lambert. Now, St. Lambert is so crowded the school is adding on to make room for the larger student body and more diverse programs.
Like many of her students Jennifer Wrigg moved to St. Lambert after Cathedral School closed its doors two years ago. Besides the location, not much has changed for the kindergarten teacher, except for the size of her classroom.
"There's very little space in the classroom; we've become very close friends," Wrigg said.
It's a common trend throughout the school. Many classrooms are shared, and closets are converted into offices.
"We've been using every nook and cranny," Principal Barbara Lockwood said.
Lockwood says the consolidation brought an additional 55 kids into the building. The diversity of those students meant the need for new programs like ELL and Title 1 and the expansion of speech and language.
"The diversity has definitely changed. It's a very positive thing; we have students from a variety of countries," Lockwood said.
Students and staff have made do with tight quarters, but soon they'll be able to stretch out with the addition of four new classrooms.
"It definitely will serve a purpose. We cannot wait," Lockwood said.
Wrigg's new classroom will be twice the size of her current room. She says it will allow her more flexibility with teaching and will also take pressure off the rest of the school.
"Then we can have people out of closets, finding spots throughout the school to serve the students the best we can," Wrigg said.
The $750,000 dollar project was funded completely by the community. Lockwood says they're grateful for the extra room so students and staff have the best learning experience possible.
"It truly has been the hand of God watching it all come together," Lockwood said.
The project began in August and is expected to be complete by January 1.