Westlake High School’s infamously crowded hallways are about to get easier to navigate.
The Saratoga Springs high school is expected to see a third of its students leave as the new Cedar Valley High School opens this fall in Eagle Mountain.
Cedar Valley High School is projected by the Alpine School District to open with about 1,950 students and rise to an enrollment of 2,595 students in 2023. Westlake High School is projected to have about 2,350 students in the fall, according to Westlake High School Principal Gary Twitchell, and is retaining about 350 students who had their choice between the two high schools.
The district has anticipated that most seniors who would live within Cedar Valley High School’s boundaries would choose to stay at Westlake High School for their final year of high school.
About 250 seniors are expected in the fall, according to Courtney Johnson, the principal of Cedar Valley High School. She expects more students to decide to attend as the summer progresses, and said that out-of-area requests to attend the school are trickling in.
“Being part of a small senior class is appealing to some people,” Johnson said.
She said about a third of the faculty at Westlake High School will be relocating to Cedar Valley High School.
Westlake High School will drop from being the largest high school in Alpine School District to the fifth-largest in the fall, with Cedar Valley High School opening as the sixth-largest of the district’s 10 traditional, physical high schools. Skyridge High School will take the throne as the district’s largest school in the fall, and is expected to hold that title through the fall of 2023, according to the Alpine School District’s projections.
In 2023, Westlake High School will be the second-largest school in the district with 2,683 students and Cedar Valley High School will be the third-largest school with 2,595 students.
Westlake High School opened its doors in fall 2009 to 1,721 students, about 450 students more than the district had projected, and has had 34 satellite classrooms added to its grounds.
Westlake High School first exceeded 3,000 students in fall 2017.
The passage of the district’s 2016 bond funded the construction of Cedar Valley High School, which will be the district’s second high school built west of Lehi.
In the meantime, the faculty and staff of Cedar Valley High School are working to create a memorable opening and are crafting what they want to become the school’s culture.
The school will have a grand opening and ribbon cutting on Aug. 17 in a ceremony that Johnson said will honor famous local aviators and bring in aircraft to honor the school’s mascot, the Aviators.
Employees will begin moving into the school July 1.
Johnson said students will be divided into classes of about 20 for flights, which will meet in periods during the week where they will learn about literacy, how to be high performers and how to have the courage to be vulnerable.
“Kids are being told every day who they should be when they get on Instagram,” Johnson said.
The flights will be organized into larger squadrons.
Johnson said the school is using the classes to honor uniqueness and as a way to address bullying.
The classes are also part of an effort to prevent student suicide.
Johnson said she wants the employees to be supportive role models in the students’ lives, and plans to keep the flight classes running as long as she’s principal.
“Everyone has a next level, and we want to be leveling up all year long,” she said.
Caden Dunn, the school’s first student body president, said students are both nervous and excited about the new school. He’s one of the few hundred students who have chosen to attend Cedar Valley High School for their senior year.
“I was ready for a new beginning to start traditions and make a school great right off the bat,” Dunn said.
About half of Dunn’s classes at Westlake High School this semester are in portable classrooms outside of the main school building.
He said the student body officers are already thinking of traditions to incorporate at football games and school dances — but they’re not ready to share them quite yet.
He wants the new school’s energy to be positive, energetic and welcoming. And while students are nervous about leaving friends, he said it’s a sacrifice to move on to something new.
“You are most likely going to be scared, but I feel like once people get into it, once people start feeling comfortable, then everything will start working,” Dunn said.