AMERICAN FORK -- A third high school and junior high school will be needed in Lehi within eight years.
In order to do that, the Alpine School District will need to issue a bond in 2016.
Assistant Superintendent Sam Jarman said he hopes to see the new junior high school completed by 2018.
“It will be needed that fast,” he said.
The third high school will likely be on the western Lehi border near the Jordan River, serving students living in Lehi and Saratoga Springs.
“As you look at the numbers you know there will need to be a third high school,” said Vern Henshaw, ASD superintendent.
Jarman was presenting findings to the School Boundary Committee during Tuesday's ASD Board of Education work session. There will be time for board members to study the findings and read patron comments before the item goes before the board for a vote, likely in January or February 2015.
“I do feel like that they have gone out and come back, they have been thorough, listened, and that is why they developed the red boundary map,” Henshaw said.
The red boundary map is based on community input. There is a blue boundary map as well, the one the committee initially proposed.
After studying district patron comments from several open-house meetings with residents, and looking at projected area numbers and busing routes, the committee recommended the blue boundary map to the school board as the best for expected projected growth as well as for current students.
The blue map boundaries for Lehi High School is to follow the Jordan River up to 2100 North and follow Cedar Hollow Road to Interstate 15 south in Lehi.
The city's second high school, now under construction, would take students north of 2100 North, north to the Point of the Mountain, west to the Jordan River and east to the Highland/American Fork border.
“As far as trying to make the best decision, we are going to make some people happy and some people unhappy,” Jarman said.
That statement couldn’t be more true for Lehi residents who live east of I-15, south of Cedar Hollow and north of the Lehi business district on State Street. They refer to themselves as living in the “Southeast Island.”
There are approximately 250 students living in that area, and many of their parents prefer the red boundary map that would send students to the new high school once it opens in 2016.
“My concerns are that I think we are being isolated by the freeway ... and State Street and the businesses that is separating us from the rest of the student population,” Allison Stowers said.
She said she doesn’t want children having to cross the freeway to get to Lehi High School.
“Our other concern is that they are being split off from all of their peers that they know up here,” Stowers said, pointing to north and east of their neighborhood.
For Rob Sandberg it’s a question of academics.
"You want your kids to get the best education, you want them to go to a feeder school,” Sandberg said. “We should add to that the concept of feeder schools so kids can get a better education.”
He said studies show kids do better academically if they are kept with their peers. Children in that area go to Freedom Elementary School, where American Fork and Highland students also attend.
Sixth-graders living in the “island” graduate and some go to American Fork or Lehi junior high schools. The high school students go to Lone Peak, American Fork and Lehi high schools.
“This is not an old school-new school issue for us; we are just saying keep our kids together," Jacques Bacinet said.
According to the numbers and projected growth, the red boundary map, which has all of the “island” students feeding to the new high school, would cause the population to rise to 1,900 students by 2019. Lehi High School would have 1,700.
The decision for the blue boundary map was not recommended to the board by an unanimous vote, however.
“I will say this, there was a two-thirds vote on this,” Jarman said.
He proposed the blue map and giving students the option as to which high school they would attend.
“Freedom is a hotbed for ‘where do you go’ after you are done at Freedom Elementary,” he said. “This would take into account some of the issues we have heard from the patrons.”