Washington City may get its first high school, district planning

WASHINGTON CITY – Depending upon how city growth and plans develop, residents of Washington City could see their first high school within the city limits built sometime in the next few years.

Members of the Washington County School District board and Washington City Council met Thursday for a special meeting to discuss potential locations for various schools in the Washington Fields area. In light of a $185 million bond passing in November, the District plans to renovate existing schools and develop new schools. Among lands the District owns throughout the county is a 55-acre parcel in Washington that could provide the site of a future high school.

Currently the bulk of Washington City’s high school-age students attend Pine View High School, located in St. George. If built on the district’s 55-acre parcel, the new high school would be the first located entirely in Washington City.

Altogether, District Superintendent Larry Bergeson said, the district is looking to building three elementary schools, a middle school, an intermediate school, and a high school in Washington.

Ultimately, the construction of a new school will be determined by growth in the area. Like St. George, Washington City has been experiencing a fair amount of growth over the last year. Over the course of many meetings of the City Council, Washington has approved plans for the continued development of existing subdivisions and the creation of new ones.

“Meetings have been subdivision, subdivision, subdivision,” City Councilman Jeff Turek said.

The passage of the bond in the recent election enabled the district to accommodate continued growth.

While the school district does own various parcels of land across Washington Fields, it also works with private property owners and local, state, and federal agencies to secure possible locations for future schools.

“Growth, where it continues, will dictate location (of the schools),” Bergeson said.

The 55-acre parcel of land the district owns is south of Staheli Farm and near to the Sandia Subdivision, Bergeson said. Though the location is not a 100 percent certainty, it was mentioned many times in the meeting as the possible site for a future high school.

“It’s not for sure, but it’s a very good possibility based on growth,” Brent Bills, the district’s business manager, said.

Bergeson also said it’s a good location but noted there are some drainage concerns with the property. Growth and needs will determine where new schools will be built.

Once a location is picked, getting a school built can take two to four years depending on whether it is an elementary or high school.

The school district has been taking a cookie-cutter approach with its new schools, Bills said, which is helping to keep construction costs down. Though new schools are slated to be built, existing schools will also be renovated and enlarged to accommodate area growth.

So far there has been no opposition to the idea of a school being built on the 55-acre parcel by area residents, said Craig Hammer, the school district’s executive director of secondary schools.

A purpose of Thursday’s special meeting was to gauge whether or not there were any major road blocks or concerns on the side of Washington City officials concerning the possible school site should the district move forward with it. Mayor Ken Neilson and members of the City Council said there was not, and looked forward to continued dealings with the school district.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Bud Borkardt December 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

    It really is past time for this to happen. Washington City is growing up, and should have its own high school!

  • concerned citizen December 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Nowhere near Sandia please. The idiot neighborhood kids are bad enough. Imagine hundreds or thousands of teens driving…………Way out south of Staehli Farms is where it needs to be – and then only once the bridge connecting Washington and St George is finished so we neighborhood people don’t have to deal with more ridicilous traffic on Washington Fields Rd and 1450 S.

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