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Alpine School District eyeing possible new high school with recent land purchase

Posted at 10:04 PM, Oct 30, 2023

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — The Alpine School District School Board has unanimously approved the $12.9 million dollar purchase of a plot of land on the west side of Utah County near Brookhaven Elementary. The district says it's very early for them to share specific details about the purchase, but it is large enough to build a high school.

"Eagle Mountain definitely needs another high school. We're just growing exponentially,” said Megan Strader, a parent in the Alpine School District.

The district says they are currently informally studying student populations at the two high schools on the west side of the county: Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs and Cedar Valley High School in Eagle Mountain.

"Cedar Valley High School has approximately 3,100 students in grades 9-12. We are in the process of building a new middle school in Eagle Mountain that will open in the fall of 2025. With the opening of an additional middle school, Cedar Valley High School would no longer house 9th-grade students, which would alleviate crowding by removing approximately 850 students," a spokesperson for the district said.

The district added they have short-term plans to formally study adding a satellite to Westlake High School, which currently has about 2,9000 students, to plan for increasing enrollment. 

Megan Strader lives in the neighborhood near where the district purchased approximately 50 acres of land from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the district is in the very early stages of determining what could go on the land, some in the neighborhood are already concerned about the impacts of a potential new high school.

"I don't know if this specific location is ideal, especially with three schools in less than a mile radius. I think it could get really congested,” Strader said. “It’s a pretty intense morning when everybody goes to school, and we just want to make sure it's safe and that we don't have tons of teenagers racing around and somebody getting hit.”

While there is both anticipation and hesitation for a potential new high school, there are still steps the district is taking before a new high school is formally announced. The district says the first step was securing the property as they "look to accommodate future growth in this geographical area of the district." The second step will be studying enrollment trends at feeder middle schools, and finally, finding the funding to build a new high school, which the district expects to cost around $150 million. In 2022 voters, voted against a $595 million dollar bond — the largest bond in state history — that would’ve secured funding for new schools in the district.

If and when the district does decide to build a new high school, Strader hopes they take community wants and needs into consideration early on.

"I think that when they're going to build a school in a specific area, they should survey it and ask the parents in the specific area that are in the Alpine School District what they think of building a school there. I think collaboration between the Alpine School District and parents should be stronger,” Strader said.