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Back To School: New Schools Opening Across State To Keep Up With Growth

LEHI, Utah – New schools are opening their doors across the state as certain school districts work to keep up with the demands of a growing student population.

According to the State Board of Education, there are 1,121 schools in Utah, and that’s 35 more than there were five years ago.

More than 15 new schools opened their doors this year.

“We’re feeling it. I feel like Lehi’s bursting at the seams,” said Becky Naisbitt, who is the parent of a new kindergartner. “We moved to the community knowing that there would be a school really close to where we were building our home.”

Naisbitt is among hundreds of parents getting a first look at a brand new school, one of many new buildings in Alpine School District. Others include Cedar Valley High, Polaris West High, Lake Mountain Middle and Centennial Elementary.

“We don’t normally open four or five schools in the same year,” ASD School Board President Scott Carlson said. “Growth is a major factor for the northern part of Utah County…With those new students we need new space.”

And Alpine district isn’t alone in attempting to keep up with more homes, families and students. Just north of Lehi, traffic backed up Monday morning as teenagers flooded the new Mountain Ridge high school in Herriman.

“In 2016 we went to the voters, saying we need more schools,” said Bryce Dunford, Jordan School District School Board President. “We’re growing at no less than 3% every single year.”

Dunford said that’s an increase of about 1,500 students in the JSD. “So our district grows at about the size of a high school every two years.”

For that reason, JSD opened five new schools this week, all under budget, according to Dunford, including one that was rebuilt. Mountain Point Elementary, Ridge View Elementary, Mountain Ridge High, Mountain Creek Middle and West Valley Middle school.

“We’re always looking for what’s next. What will be next,” Dunford said. “It comes with some unique growing pains.”

That means more classrooms, teachers, supplies, not to mention traffic on the roads in the mornings and afternoons. All of it just adds to the list of unending changes that bring in each new school year.

“It’s not over. We continue to grow,” Carlson said.

Other new schools opening up in the 2019-2020 school year include Shoreline Junior High in Davis District, Mountain Green Middle in Morgan District, Crimson Cliffs High and Washington Fields Intermediate in Washington District, and Silver Ride Elementary and Orchard Springs in Weber District.

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