There used to be way more students in the high school. Why don’t we move the middle school into the high school?
To begin with, it is important to note the difference between more students in each of the four high school grades and more grade levels. It is easier to accommodate larger class sizes than more grade levels, which would require additional curriculum, class offerings, lab spaces, etc. A careful analysis of the space against state standards suggested that the building could have been pushed to host eighth grade in the building, however, there were many complications with this and neither teachers nor parents participating in the planning process were excited to see younger students sharing a building with high school age students. It was a consensus opinion to not mix the grades, as it would have compromised the other programs and demanded a greater level of remodeling.
In addition, schools generally have different demands today than they had in the past and the measures for the number of students per square foot of space has changed as well. The building is 147,650 SF and the four grades include 352 students. On average, There are 100 students per grade in the school system and that is the number we are using for planning purposes. The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) capacity of the building is 690 students and the “Functional capacity” of the building is 590 students. While the building could be remodeled to host that many students, the site will not accommodate that many people (Parking and traffic become limiting parameters).
It is also important to know that today’s schools have different accreditation standards along with many programs and technology requirements that did not exist years ago. Rooms that used to be used for classrooms are now taken up by the following: Special Education Rooms, Occupational and Physical Therapy Rooms, Title I, Speech, Sensory Rooms, and CSCT (Comprehensive School and Community Treatment programs). One of the biggest changes is with technology. Because of state testing, the schools need to have computer labs that are able to do all the online testing that is required. These requirements are the reason why DCHS would never be able to hold the same amount of students that it once had.
In summary, what used to be able to hold more students, just is not feasible with all of the requirements from the state and to give our students the best educational opportunities to help them be competitive in today’s society.
Questions? Please Contact:
Stephen Schreibeis at 406-377-5339 or firstname.lastname@example.org