Mill Creek Elementary opens portable classrooms, Madison City Schools finds options for growing numbers

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MADISON, Ala. - Madison City Schools has doubled in size since it became a district in 1998. The growth has pushed administrators and teachers to utilize all available space while providing each student with a quality education.

You might call it a new gated community at Mill Creek Elementary School. The educators just opened the "Learning Cottages at Mill Creek" this week. These are several portable classrooms that provide one solution to the school's growing numbers.

"They are not at any disadvantage," Principal Carmen Buchanan said. "They have access to everything that the kids in the building do."

Madison City Schools grew by 369 students this year compared with this time last year.

"You combine that with the growth that we see annually which is always between 200 and 250 kids," Superintendent Dee Fowler said. "You can imagine, it doesn't take but a year or two until you need a new school.

But, Fowler said a new school is not in the budget right now. So, district leaders organized a growth committee that travels around the campuses to develop options to accommodate the growing student population.

"How many kids will it hold? And, while we're there, we're also looking at other options there: how many portables could we place on a campus," Fowler explained.

District Leaders hope the committee will offer options just after Christmas Break this year.

"All of this will lead into a new rezoning in the City of Madison," Fowler said. "This rezoning will be a Pre-K through 12th rezoning."

Fowler added that he is hoping to know the rezoning options by spring. He said rezoning is inevitable in Madison. This is the eighth time the district has rezoned since 1998.

Fowler said he can promise parents that it doesn't matter which school their children attend, everyone gets the same quality education in the district.