The North Allegheny School Board is investigating the idea of potentially building a new school that would combine grades 9 through 12.
North Allegheny School District now has roughly 8,600 students enrolled in its eleven schools. Because of the large number of students, several schools are necessary to provide the quality of education that North Allegheny is known for. The district has two high schools, one for ninth and tenth-grade students and another for eleventh and twelfth-grade students. Freshmen and sophomores attend North Allegheny Intermediate High School, while juniors and seniors attend North Allegheny Senior High School.
Other districts in the area, or perhaps in the country, do not have two different high schools. It has some drawbacks, but it is mainly practical because of the size of the graduating classes. The proposal for a single high school for grades nine through twelve raises questions about what the benefits and potential concerns might be.
Some say having one high school is a good idea while others disagree. 60% of students surveyed said that it would be a bad idea. “I think it would be very overcrowded and it would be difficult to navigate the school or find classrooms,” says freshman Cat Abel. Already students struggle to get to classes with the four-minute intervals between classes. If the new high school was built, getting to classes could take twice as long as it does already.
Sophomore Ali Pasquale says, “The building would have to be huge.” With already having separate high schools that are decently sized, combining the two would require a massive location. The budget would have to be immense for the project, and the practicability would have to be greatly considered.
Despite the concerns with the new school idea, some positives would also be involved in the proposal. Fewer teachers would be needed, less money would be required for transportation, and older buildings cost more to maintain than just building a new one.
From a student’s perspective, Erin Cuba who is a freshman, says a new bigger school would let students, “…have a good idea of what the real world will be like.” With a bigger school, it would truly teach students how to be responsible, and learn how to maintain a steady schedule. Along with this, having one building, “…would make it easier on the students because they won’t have to relearn a whole new building”, says Rachel Reubi, a sophomore.
Overall, the concept of a building with a potential of 2,600 students has many advantages and disadvantages, but the negatives may outnumber the positives. The need for a school this large could be expensive, not to mention impractical. The district currently has some trouble keeping students in order behaviorally in various buildings, but by merging them into one, students may be able to get away with even more.
The suggested concept is currently in its early phases of development. Even if the School Board were to finalize plans, it would take at least seven years for the school to be finished and ready for use by the district.