Committee Envisions 800-student Third High School for Iowa City

By Patrick Hogan, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa - West and City High Schools could possibly one day be joined by NCHS — an abbreviation that for now means "New Comprehensive High School."

That's according to a report by the Superintendent's High School Study Committee , which will be presented to the Iowa City Community School District board during its regular meeting Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at the Educational Services Center.

The committee, which consisted mostly of principals from the district's high and junior high schools as well as some other district staff, laid out some of the basic planning that needs to happen in order to build another comprehensive high school.

The district recently passed the enrollment milestones the board previously set for building a third high school. Three-year enrollment projections for high school students now exceed 3,750, and actual sixth-grade enrollment is between 900 and 925 students.

New cost estimates for operating the potential school are about $3 million a year. This does not include costs for staff and services that would be transferred from other schools in the district, nor the actual cost of the building the school.

Two separate scenarios were developed, one in which the new school draws all of its students from communities currently served by West, and another where enrollment was split with 80 percent coming from West and 20 percent from City. There was "little to no difference" in the two scenarios in terms of staffing and curriculum.

Because of the smaller student population, the scenarios created in the report would provide fewer electives than currently are available at City and West, but the report called on the district to explore partnerships with other facilities in the area, such as the to-be-built Kirkwood Community College Johnson County regional education center.

No actual reccommendation was delivered in terms of what areas the school should serve or where it should be built, other than that the district should follow its existing boundary criteria.
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