CANTON — Cherokee County School District’s annual school housing report results are in, and while there will be no need to redistrict schools, there is significant crowding at most of the county’s middle schools.

The district classifies “critically overcrowded” schools as those operating at 140% or higher of the campus’ capacity, and none of the 36 traditional schools surveyed as of Aug. 28, the 20th day of school, meet that criteria. That means the school district will not change the attendance maps this year, and students will not have to transfer schools.

However, the report from Superintendent Brian Hightower showed several school campuses operating between 100 and 130 percent of their capacity. Five of the county’s seven middle schools were operating at more than full capacity, even with the use of portable classrooms: Creekland Middle School (111%, 128% without portables,) E.T. Booth Middle School (110%, 117% without portables,) Mill Creek Middle School (116%, 126% without portables,) Teasley Middle School (106%) and Woodstock Middle School (110%, 124% without portables.)

Other schools that were found to be crowded when factoring existing portables are Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy at 102% and Creekview High School at 103% (110% without portables.)

With its acquisition of the former Canton Elementary School Cherokee High School marked its 20th day with an enrollment of 2,727, 79% of its capacity of 3,480 students with no portables.

“As a board and staff we have to decide, how comfortable are we with a school that large?” said Hightower, who announced the results of the report at the school board meeting Thursday. “Where do we draw the line for Cherokee? We really are very interested in looking at a high school in the north to assist. Cherokee sits at (2,700) now, we think they may grow as large as 3,200 before we can get relief.”

A new high school for the north part of the county will be in the next Education Special Local Option Sales Tax renewal proposal, which will be presented to voters in 2021.

Under construction at Mill Creek Middle School is a classroom expansion which will be a two-story facility with 24 classrooms and a global learning resource lab. Another classroom expansion is planned for Woodstock Middle School, which is scheduled to be built at the same time as a new gym at Woodstock High School from May to August 2022. A planned agriculture science lab at Creekview High School is set to begin construction in January.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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