Katie Brochu likes to call the 50 mobile units scattered throughout the Whitfield County School System “learning cottages.”

What they symbolize is a system that is bursting at the seams.

The Whitfield County Board of Education held a retreat this weekend to continue their discussion on how to meet the needs of the growing system.

“We are looking at the direction of our school system and beginning to identify capital project needs,” Brochu said Saturday afternoon. “But no plan has been adopted or finalized by the board at this time.”

This year, an additional 600 students enrolled in Whitfield County schools. Brochu said there was no data available to identify where the students are from.

It is indicative of what has been happening in the past few years, she said, when enrollment has increased anywhere from 47 to 300 students a year.

And more students means more schools are needed.

Paying for the schools is one of the hot buttons for the board. In a meeting held Tuesday, vice chairman Tim Trew recommended the consideration of another special purpose local option sales tax to pay for another capital need – school buses.

But Brochu indicated no decisions were made at this weekend’s retreat.

Some plans are already in the works to ease the system’s growth.

In the fall, the new Beaverdale Elementary and New Hope Middle schools will open. Renovations to Tunnel Hill Elementary, Antioch Elementary, Northwest Whitfield and Southeast High schools, Dug Gap Elementary, Eastside and Westside elementary schools and Eastbrook Middle School are already in the system’s plan, Brochu said.

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