ATHENS, Ala. - In the past year, the City of Athens experienced a nearly 20 percent growth rate. In 2020, the mayor anticipates even more new faces.
But the city's school system says it's not sure one of its campuses can handle the increase.
"The intermediate school, it's full," explained Trey Holladay, Superintendent of Athens City Schools. "If we grow another 45 or 50 students this next year, we will have to look at doing something like doing a satellite."
Currently, Athens Intermediate School is home to more than 500 students in fourth grade and fifth grade. But the school is located on the west side of town, and city leaders said the growth is happening on the east side.
Holladay said he'd like to better serve everyone.
"We would love to be able to get Athens Intermediate toward the center of the city, but how it's conceived for the future? We don't know that we can get it to the center," Holladay said.
The city school system is tasked with brainstorming ideas to accommodate new kids.
"That could be that we put one grade back into an elementary school like fourth grade, three sections of fourth grade," Holladay added.
He said the discussion is at the top of mind and ideas are circulating. Worst case scenario the superintendent would be on board with relocating some students to an existing location like they've done with elementary students.
"It could be that we take parts of fourth and fifth and we move them to Clinton Street in the other half of that building," Holladay explained.
Right now ideas are just that. But Holladay said he hopes to have a fluid growth plan in the coming months.