Hillcrest High School sees enrollment surge after district changes

Published: Monday, June 17 2013 10:30 a.m. MDT

"Going forward, we'll be in great shape once we see what's there this year," he said. "You've got to give it a year or two to set in to see where you're really at."

Draper Mayor Darrell Smith said the school boundary changes and grade reconfigurations affect residents in different ways, with some less pleased than others. But ultimately, he has confidence in the efforts of the Canyons School Board.

"It’s just a very busy time and when the dust all settles, it will all work out," he said. "We’ve got two new beautiful schools and we should appreciate it."

The opening of the city's first public high school marks the latest step in a new era of development and commercialization for the once-rural, agricultural community. Smith said Draper is not without growing pains, namely a need for increased public safety resources and traffic congestion planning, but it's exciting to watch the city develop.

"Our main focus is job growth and good economic development and still keeping it a wonderful place to live," Smith said.

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan said that when the Canyons School District split from the Jordan School District in in 2008, most of the population growth in the area was projected to occur in Draper. But since then, he said a new cycle of population growth has started in Sandy and in other district municipalities, which requires city leaders and school officials to work together in planning for the future.

Growth brings challenges that will need to be addressed, he said, such as potential boundary changes or construction of new schools, but overall the inflow of new residents is a positive thing for the area that local leaders are planning for.

"There's going to be more density in our city as well as the others," Dolan said. "We couldn't be more pleased in our partnership with Canyons School District. They're just terrific to work with."

In Cottonwood Heights, home to Brighton High School, Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore spoke favorably of the district's grade reconfiguration. He said the city is not a high-growth area, but schools are crowded, which will be alleviated by the steps the district has taken.

"I think the grade reconfiguration was very wise, not just from a growth perspective," he said. "It does allow better use of facilities but it’s also academically the right thing to do."

Cullimore said so far there's been no indication that the Canyons School Board was neglecting low-growth areas like Cottonwood Heights in favor of high-growth areas like Draper. He said that since the creation of the district, the relationship between school and city officials has only gotten stronger.

"They’ve already demonstrated through their capital facilities plan that they do intend to meet our needs," Cullimore said. "The plan is that everybody will benefit from this and I believe over time that will be proven accurate."

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com

Twitter: bjaminwood

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