As the years roll by, a number of changes have come to Rock Creek High School. Staff comes and goes, technology is updated and students shape the future. There is one change, however, that is simply unavoidable. This problem is the ever-expanding student body. As the towns of St. George and Westmoreland grow, so does the amount of students coming from each. In the face of overcrowded classrooms and halls, the district must examine the possibility of expanding Rock Creek.
The Rock Creek school district has been forced to go through numerous upgrades. The most iconic of which is when the St. George and Westmoreland high schools merged to become Rock Creek. Many years later, what we now refer to as the “junior high end” was added to compensate for the increasing population of the school. St. George has almost always had larger student body; therefore, in 2007, an entirely new building was constructed to not only replace the aging former building, but to house the students. St. George is, however, already nearing its limits. This is not actually as grave as it sounds; St. George still has three classrooms that have yet to be commissioned and could handle about 70 more students, which could take years to reach. He also says that expansion will eventually be needed at Westmoreland Elementary, however, that is still many years away, therefore, there is not need to fret about it yet.
Now, Rock Creek itself is facing this very issue. It is certain that within just a few short years, if growth continues as expected, steps will have to be taken to reduce the overcrowding in the school. This is all contingent on the projected growth actually occurring, however. Darrel Stufflebeam was quick to point out that the projected student growth in the past has been known to be drastically overestimated.
The solution I see as being most likely to occur is adding on the the already existing building. One possible add-on would be the addition of a few new wings. One would be built right next to the new gym, which would also have a new theatre/concert hall to the north of it. This plan would also result in filling in some of the “gaps” in the school. Meaning that the areas where there is room to add on to would likely be filled in. Several classrooms would be put in these newly filled-in area.
There has also been some debate over whether the junior high should be added on to, or a new, separate building should be constructed. To be completely honest, I am a fan of the 7-12 system we have now. I feel that it reduces the fear and anxiety that usually accompany the the junior high to high school change. It also allows students to get to know many teachers before they ever actually have them in class, which can be a huge advantage in their later years. Given all this, I would support the junior high being added on to, rather than a new building being made to house the junior high, so as to keep the junior high’s exposure to what high school life is like.
The school itself is not the only target for expansions. The Rock Creek sports facilities have also had proposed expansions. In this proposal, a new football practice field would be built to the north of the playing field. In turn, what was formerly the football practice field will then become a site that will house two softball fields and two baseball fields. One of each would be unlighted and would be used for practice, and the other two will be playing fields.
In conclusion, I feel that despite the growing number of students in all of the district schools, we still have time to weigh our options and choose whichever solution will benefit us the most. In the end, Rock Creek will require expansions, and I hope that when this time comes, that the school board will chose to keep the junior high in the same building as the high school. When it comes to the grade schools, they will, of course, need expanded eventually, however, just like Rock Creek there is plenty of time before that time comes. Regardless, I believe that time should be taken to decide on the best options for all of the district’s schools.
By Devin Muir, Newspaper Editor-in-Chief