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Housing Shortage Stalls School Growth

FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- Growth is slowing down for one local school district, but the reasons might be surprising.
FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- Growth is slowing down for one local school district, but the reasons might be surprising.

"In Fayetteville, we're seeing a very, very slow, very predictable growth, not the explosive growth that they're seeing in Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville."

The scope of Fayetteville families is changing and the school district is seeing the difference.

"People that think all of Northwest Arkansas is growing so Fayetteville's school population must be growing by leaps and bounds too, and it's just not," said Alan Wilbourn with Fayetteville Public Schools.

Based on recent demographic research, the influx of University of Arkansas students has starter homes in high demand which makes it tough to score a spot in the school district.

"It's hard to find a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath house because they're snapped up for rental property to college kids, but that's also the same type of property that a young family with young school-aged children would be looking for... That type of house in Fayetteville has always moved extremely quickly."

And for those young families who moved to town years ago, Wilbourn knows many of those kids are now grown and gone..

"People have lived there for a few years and their kids have already matriculated through our system, well they like the neighborhood. They're staying put."

But since there is not exponential growth, the district can easily deal with number of students projected for the future.

"Very manageable, very predictable and the trend says they don't see that changing."

Even though there is not significant growth in the district, Wilbourn said investing in projects like the high school makes a lot of sense since there will not be a need to build another high school for decades.



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