BRIDGEPORT, Ohio (WTRF) Bridgeport School officials say they have 40 more students this year than last.

They’d like to build an addition onto the current elementary school.

And they have received a new round of ESSER Funds (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds) that could make that possible. 

Superintendent Brent Ripley says the funds can be used to prevent, prepare or respond to COVID 19.

“Our thought is that to increase the square footage and the fresh air space for students is what they call for,” he noted. 

The district received $2.7 million in the third round of ESSER Funds, but not all of it would be earmarked for this project.

Right now they are accepting applications from architectural firms.

“We would prefer that the addition would be connected to the existing building for reasons of cleanliness and security,” said Ripley. “Our goal is to build it without interrupting students’ schedules or drop-off and pick-up.”

He said the addition would contain classroom space and space for extracurricular activities as well. 

He said they have to spend the funds by 2024.

The district enrollment is now up to 809 students in preschool through 12th grade, and officials say some classrooms are at capacity.

They are hoping to build it on the site of the current elementary school playground or the basketball court.

Ripley says in either case, the existing playground or basketball court would be relocated, not removed.

October 6 is the deadline for architectural firms to submit their qualifications. 

This will be the fourth expansion of the campus.

They’ve added the preschool, the administrative office and the exercise science center since the school complex was built in 2006.