February 21, 2017
Waukee has seen incredible growth in just the past few years, with 5,180 people in 2000, and 17,705 people in 2015. This brings new houses, businesses, and schools popping up around the community. Citizens of Waukee seem to have gotten used to the sound of construction outside each doorstep. More people pouring into the city everyday will start to make things difficult and overall, simply more crowded. Expansion occurs everywhere in Waukee, and will continue for quite a while. It’s up to the board members of the Waukee School District to make decisions on when and where to grow their school community.
Two years ago, the Waukee School board made the decision to add yet another school to the district, and on November 28th, 2016, voted to name it Radiant Elementary, honoring the coal mining heritage of Waukee. In 1920, Radiant Coal Company was one of the five remaining coal companies operational in Waukee, after they started up in the early 1800’s.
Susan Bunz, president of the board, shared the importance of the naming. “Everyone on the board felt strongly about finding a name for the school that reflected the history of our community. We selected Radiant because it was another mine in the Waukee area (like Schuler) and would reflect the historical significance of mining in the community.”
Though most people are used to change and growth, it can be a bit hard or even scary for others. With houses being built in every corner of Waukee, considerable amounts of people are moving here. More people inhabiting Waukee brings many children and teens looking for a school. With how fast Waukee is expanding, the pressure and stress of building and planning many schools at once is not an easy task.
But Kimberly Tierney, Principal of Maple Grove Elementary believes in the growth of the community. “As employees of the Waukee Community School District, we often joke that if you can’t handle change and growth, then Waukee is not the place for you.” She continued by saying, “Anytime a new building within the Waukee CSD opens, it brings added enthusiasm to all stakeholders within the community. We are so fortunate to live and serve in a community in which growth is prominent.”
Though, students in the district seem to have wavering opinions on the matter. Sophomore Kirra Ortiz comments, “The school district is growing, which could mean separation for some people as boundary lines move. … With the fact that there is a North and a South [middle school], some people will never meet, and once they build the new high school, they will probably never meet.”
Going along with Ortiz’s opinion, junior Skyler Steele agreed by saying, “Waukee seems to be one of the fastest growing communities out there. It does seem to be an issue with the amount of students in elementary schools, middle schools, and our high school. This will be troublesome considering we may run out of space before we can build more schools.”
While some students have their doubts about the fast expansion of the district, some have a positive outlook on the issue. Senior Abbi Anderson stated, “I believe this school district has done a great job with the growth so far. I feel like as long as new buildings are being built, we will be fine!”
Construction will start in spring of 2017, and Radiant Elementary is scheduled to open in August 2019. The staffing plan will likely be presented to the school board in November or December 2018 with the posting and hiring process beginning in January 2019. The school building will be built in Urbandale, close to the area where the Radiant Coal Company was.
The growth in Waukee will introduce new education, businesses, and houses to the community for years to come.