WAUKEE, Iowa — The Waukee Community School District held a ribbon cutting this morning for the new Sugar Creek Elementary.
The Waukee school district has gained about 1,000 new students in the last two years. School officials say the new building, which can hold up to 750 kids, will help balance the number of children in each elementary school.
Superintendent Brad Buck says despite staffing challenges statewide, the new elementary school is in a good spot.
"The good news is we've been able to hire elementary staff. So we feel really great about where we are with elementary staff, district wide. Hiring has been a challenge," Buck said.
Across the nation, schools have been affected by the labor shortages, something Waukee has been lucky to avoid.
"I was just at school administrators of Iowa conference and a lot of the chatter among superintendents and principals was these challenges related to hiring like you described," Buck said. "But we're in pretty good shape for hiring for the fall in Waukee."
Waukee plans to expand even more in the coming years, with two additional middle schools and another elementary slated to open by 2025.
According to the latest census data, Waukee has had the highest growth rate in the state, growing 8.7% over 12 months.
On the other side of the metro, Ankeny has grown to be the largest suburb, growing by over 40,000 people in the last 20 years. A May press release from Ankeny says the city's population was just over 26,000 residents in 2021 and is projected to grow to 40,000 by 2030.