It's a popular program, but Sioux Falls School district officials say the Spanish Immersion Program is not growing as fast as expected, prompting district planning changes.
This year there was less interest in the program than expected, which has prompted administrators to rethink building an entirely new Spanish Immersion School next to the proposed northwest elementary school.
Instead the district is considering building a smaller immersion school in the heart of Sioux Falls. Those plans could breathe new life into schools slated for closure.
One potential option calls for using the site occupied by Jefferson Elementary, which is already set to close under a school district improvement plan. This plan would include a new three-section school at a cost of about $10.8 million.
Another plan involves an entirely new building on at the site of the former Lincoln Elementary School. But the district would need to buy up additional properties to build there. That cost would be $13.1 million.
Longfellow Elementary demolition could also be spared from its 2015 closure under another set of options. There are two separate proposals; one would include a $14 million addition and renovation of the current building. Longfellow plans also include buying area homes for increased parking and playground space. That would stay the same if the district chose to tear down the existing Longfellow building in favor of a new school on the site at a cost of just under $12 million.
The final option would include an addition to Robert Frost Elementary, which would make it a large six section school. The school board has not voted on any of the options. They are expected to formally take up the issue next month.