Three Middle Schools?

The population of Utah County is estimated to double by 2050; you’ve heard it before. But what does that mean for Provo School District? We believe Provo School District should be planning now for a future third middle school (not a Dixon replacement) on the Footprinter Park site. We’ve had one before and we will need one soon.

What is now Provo Peaks Elementary used to be Provo’s third middle school, Farrer Jr. High.

Provo’s middle schools will soon surpass ideal population size.

Most Utah middle schools shoot for a population between 800 and 1,100. We’ve been told by Mark Wheeler (facilities director) that Provo School District plans for a maximum of 1,100 students at its middle schools; any more than that and it becomes difficult for administration to manage. In a previous post, we wrote that Dixon had 835 students in 2017 and Centennial had 1,119 in 2017. Rachel Luke, of Centennial’s PTA, says that it has 1,182 kids this year and is projected to have 1,260 next year. It’s already above Provo School District’s ideal maximum.

Growth estimates point to the need for a third middle school.

Provo resident and former Orem City Planner Kirby Snideman used estimates from the US Census American Community Survey, Provo School District, and Utah State Board of Education to find that Provo Middle School Enrollment could be 2,516 in 2030. Spread that out over three middle schools and you’ve got manageable a student body population of 836 each. Perfect; it sets up Provo School District well to manage future growth, too.

We will need a third middle school by 2030 and the Footprinter Park site is the place for it.

In a previous post, we pointed out the faults with the current site, including lack of sidewalks, a freeze on construction due to insufficient sewer infrastructure, and lack of dense residential development currently surrounding the site. The area is not yet ready for a school. Plus, Dixon is perfectly-located in the center of the city and would serve the population much better than two west-side middle schools if PCSD were to abandon it and have to build two 20-acre middle schools in west Provo (where else could you find 20 acres if that’s your standard?).

Dixon has the perfect location for a central middle school.

Our recommendation to the school board is to purchase the Footprinter Park site now and wait to build a third middle school when the conditions there are more amenable to building and operating a school. If we lose Dixon now, it will never come back and the school district would likely have to build two middle schools out west instead. Save Dixon!

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