Unit 5 officials will see final fall enrollment numbers Wednesday. (WJBC File Photo)
By Paul Morello
NORMAL - The Unit 5 Board of Education will get an update on the district's fall enrollment figures at Wednesday's meeting.
Superintendent Gary Niehaus said there are 361 more students this year compared to last fall, an increase of 2.7 percent.
"That number is a little bigger than what it has been in the past couple of years. That just shows me that the economy in our community is coming around. Houses are beginning to sell and obviously we have people moving into the community," he said.
The highest growth was in Unit 5's elementary sections, which added about 248 students, a jump of 3.7 percent compared to last fall. The district has 13,616 students overall.
The district recently set up two open attendance areas to combat the growth.
District officials will also get the annual update on Unit 5's energy saving efforts.
Over the past seven years Unit 5 has saved $8.7 million on utilities, thanks to the district's building renovations. Unit 5 has renovated 10 buildings and added geothermal heating in 11.
"We're getting energy efficiency from the lights, the geothermal heating and the added insulation because a lot of (the previous windows) were single-pane," Niehaus said.
The report focuses on Aug. 2005 through July 2012. Niehaus said the program has reduced the district's expected utilities costs by 31 percent.
Paul Morello can be reached at email@example.com.