Utah’s largest school district is getting even bigger.
The Alpine School District gained 1,676 students in the last year, bringing it to 81,532 students as of Oct. 1, according to 2019 enrollment and projection data from the district.
The district is expected to have 82,782 students next year and 86,290 students for the 2024-25 academic year, according to the district’s projections.
The district has seen large jumps in enrollment over the last decade as it’s grown from the 64,486 students it enrolled in 2009.
The district opened four new schools this fall and opened a second location for its alternative high school. It plans to open a new elementary school in Eagle Mountain next fall.
Skyridge High School in Lehi had the largest enrollment among the high schools at 2,972 students this year. Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs held that title for the last few years before the opening of Cedar Valley High School in Eagle Mountain this fall reduced the pressure on the school.
Fifteen elementary schools had enrollments of more than 900 students this fall, and five — Black Ridge and Brookhaven elementary schools in Eagle Mountain, Dry Creek Elementary in Lehi, Sage Hills Elementary School in Saratoga Springs and Vineyard Elementary School — had enrollments of more than 1,000 students, with Brookhaven Elementary School topping the list with 1,349 students, as of Oct. 1. Eaglecrest Elementary School in Lehi was just shy of the 1,000 mark, with 999 students as of Oct. 1.
The enrollment data and five-year projections shape the district’s upcoming decisions, including which projects could be built using funds from a potential 2020 bond.
“This is very valuable information for all of us on the staff and you as board members,” Alpine School District Superintendent Sam Jarman told the district’s Board of Education during a board meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Births in the county have stayed mostly flat, Jason Sundberg, the district’s assistant director of budgets, told the board Tuesday. The unpredictability then becomes out-of-state migration, and if new students coming in will be from younger families, or more established ones with older children.
The district expects to see an enrollment bubble hit junior high and middle schools, and then move on to the high schools as the students age. The district has 17,988 students in junior high schools and middle schools this year, with 18,645 expected next school year, 18,816 expected in 2021, and then about 18,640 students from 2022 to 2024.
Mark Clement, a member of the Board of Education, said that the district might want to wait instead of building another secondary school to deal with that expected enrollment bubble.
“Maybe it would be possible to ride those out with portables, instead of building schools,” Clement said Tuesday.
The district extrapolates five years out with a high accuracy when making predictions, but as it goes out further, numbers become less accurate, according to Sundberg.
That creates challenges as the district mulls over which projects would go on future bonds, since secondary schools take longer to build than elementary schools.
“We are going to make some decisions in the next several months about schools that need to be on the 2020 bond, but some of those might need to be on the 2024 bond,” Shane Farnsworth, an assistant superintendent for the district, told the board during Tuesday’s meeting.