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Some big changes are coming to middle schoolers and junior high students at Sylvan Hills schools in Sherwood.

The Pulaski County Special School District has decided to swap buildings to better address overcrowding issues.

Next school year, Sylvan Hills 6th and 7th graders will be housed at the current Sylvan Hills Junior High on Bamboo Lane.

8th and 9th graders will go to class in the current Sylvan Hills Middle School on Johnson Street.

Sylvan Hills Middle School Principal Mike Hudgeons and Sylvan Hills Junior High Principal Yvone West say overcrowding is one of the main reasons for this move.

"We're between 1,100 and 1,150 and 1,200 kids here, which is a large middle school," Hudgeons said.

"Sherwood has grown exponentially in a short amount of time," West said.

Hudgeons says having the 9th graders closer to the high school just makes sense.

"The high school and the junior high share more teachers than we do," he said "We don't share a lot of teachers with the high school."

West says having 8th and 9th graders together will better prep them for high school.

"We're excited about the opportunity to get them in that mindset, to start thinking about this is where credits really start," West said.

Hudgeons says keeping kids closer in age is a good idea.

"My sixth graders are 11 and 12 years old," he said. "My 8th graders are 13 and 14. There's a big difference between 11 and 14 from a developmental standpoint and a maturity standpoint."

West says the structure of the current junior high building is ideal for younger students.

"This being a smaller environment where you can contain them better, that transition from elementary school to middle school will be a lot easier," West said.

PCSSD acknowledges there will be some challenges at first, getting everyone used to the new buildings. But they assure parents most staff and teachers will stay the same.

"School buildings are more about who is on the inside than what it looks like on the outside," Hudgeons said.

PCSSD says some other changes parents can expect from this building swap are different bell schedules for their children. Those exact times are still being worked out by the district.