The Elkhorn Public Schools district has more than doubled in size in the past ten years, and there's still plenty of room for growth and development.
Arbor View Elementary at 208th and Fort is the newest school in the district. It will open next week. And there's another new school already in the works. A building that right now just goes by the name Elementary #11 is slated to open near 204th and F in 2018. It has already been approved in a 2014 bond issue.
Superintendent Steve Baker is starting his 42nd year with the district which means he's seen a lot of changes.
"You have to get the trust of the community because you don't build schools without bond issues and since 1992 our community has supported almost $275 million worth of bond issues," Baker said.
Elkhorn had 7 total schools in 2006. This year, there are 16 schools serving 8,300 K-12 students. Baker says Elkhorn is just over 40 percent developed.
"We've done studies multiple times and think 'how big is Elkhorn going to be someday?' We think we'll be a school district K-12 of over 18,000 students," Baker said.
Dave Lanoha, president of Lanoha Development, has seen the Elkhorn boom firsthand. "It's been explosive, it reminds me of how Millard was in the late 80s, 90s and early 2000s."
His company has been part of three school land deals with EPS including the one for Elementary #11 He says it's an ideal fit when creating a new neighborhood.
"A lot of young families want their kids in a safe neighborhood that they can walk their kids to school and an elementary school is perfect," Lanoha said.
They have 395 homes platted in the area of Elementary #11. He says they are working to possibly get a lake in the area with trails. Most of the homes will cost in the $400-500,000 range with some as high as $800,000.
Other developers also have plans in that area. In total, 1,200 houses are expected to go up near the new elementary school. That will result in more changes according to Lanoha. "That's going to require F street infrastructure being redone, drainage structures, the road improved and traffic lights."
Baker says they are constantly assessing the growth in the area, and he often gets asked when they'll need a new high school. He says that will likely be necessary in five to ten years.
"By the time our 3rd graders get to be like seniors, that's nine years from now, if we stop growing today, we wouldn't have enough room even if we stop growing," Baker said. And it does not appear Elkhorn will stop growing any time soon.