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Ascension building new schools to keep up with growth

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ASCENSION PARISH - For the past several years, nearly everyone has noticed the growth in Ascension Parish, including the schools.

“Obviously we're growing. Everybody's trying to move down here,” said Daniel Lange, longtime Ascension resident. “My coworkers always tell me they're trying to get down to Ascension Parish. So that's a good thing."

Although school is out for the summer, the Ascension public school system has been working with parish officials, hoping to match the area's growing population with schools students can actually fit in.

“Some of our northern parts of the parish, those schools are well over that capacity at this point. And we have some of our Oak Grove Primary School, Prairieville Primary School, Dutchtown Primary, they're over 1000 kids,” said Jackie Tisdell, public information officer for Ascension Public Schools.

Ascension Public Schools say they have averaged about 370 new students each year for the past several years, which is nearly one student a day.

With a student population that has nearly doubled in the last 10 years and with most schools over capacity, Ascension hopes the addition of a new primary school opening in the 2019 school year will alleviate some of that stress.

Chad Lynch, the director of planning and construction with the school system, said they are going to make room for all the students that enroll there.

“Our role is to educate whatever students come here, and keeping up with that is a challenge.But that is our goal and mission to keep up with that growth so that we maintain that student-teacher ratio."

Those primary students will quickly grow and head to high school, and some space has already been created, with freshman academy buildings at three of them.

“If you add all three of those, that's 1,800 kids. That’s a new high school,” Tisdell said. “We've been able to use that to help us, a little bit, alleviate the pressure on the high schools while we plan for a new high school."

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