The State of Utah recommends that middle schools be housed on at least 20 acres of land–something attainable only on the outskirts of cities. Much of this acreage is not productive classroom space but used for massive parking lots and grassy fields that see only a few hours of use per day but require constant watering and mowing.
On the other hand, LEED for Cities recommends a maximum of 10 acres for a middle school. This encourages school siting in dense, mixed-use neighborhoods. A greater number of smaller schools provides students with the opportunity to walk to school. Some research even indicates that children perform better in smaller schools compared to mega-schools. These schools can also serve as community gathering spaces as does Dixon.
“In many cases, school boards choose sites that are out of step with the overall community planning goals and requirements. But the report laid partial blame for runaway sprawl school development on [one] widely accepted standard used to make decisions about where and whether to build a new school: minimum-acreage guidelines.”
We must not let the pressures of building sprawling “mega-schools” take Dixon from the core of our city.