SUN Board President Amanda Allshouse raised concerns about overcrowding at the Sandoval Campus in six–eight years during public comment at the Dec. 15 Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education meeting. DPS had stated the Sandoval Campus maximum number of seats at full build-out was 2,400–2,500 seats. DPS had proposed (now approved) placement of a DSST high school, which would require 515–550 seats on the campus. Using numbers DPS presented to the community on Dec. 5, when carried out to 2024 (when today’s first-graders enter ninth grade), projections for Northfield High School (NHS) enrollment climb above 2,000 total students enrolled. Combined with the 550 seats needed for DSST, enrollment at the two schools would then surpass the maximum size for Sandoval Campus of 2,400–2,500 seats (see chart).
DPS assumes 60 percent or fewer of Northfield-boundary families will attend Northfield because 65 percent of East-boundary families attend East. However, 45 percent of in-boundary elementary school families attend in-boundary elementary schools that feed into East, compared to 87 percent of Stapleton families who attended first grade in-boundary last year, and 84 percent of Stapleton families who attended sixth grade in-boundary. When 80 percent of Northfield-boundary families are projected to attend Northfield, coupled with the mandatory 35 percent seats reserved for out-of-boundary, Northfield High School alone would require more than 2,400 seats by the year 2023. After the public comment ended, DPS announced that if more space were needed for Northfield, specifically citing “if 3,000 students wanted to enroll,” more buildings would be built because there is an abundance of land. There was no mention of what strain the practice of ad hoc expansion would put on common facilities for dining, athletics and parking.
SUN’S Northfield High School Enrollment Projections
The anticipated demand for Northfield High School does not leave enough space for campus sharing between a DSST-size program (500-515 seats) on a fully-built Sandoval campus (maximum seats of 2,400-2,500). Northfield could surpass a size to allow such sharing in fall of 2022—and could fill the fully-built campus by fall of 2023.
Jan. 17 SUN Board Meeting
Formation of Oversight Committee to Monitor DPS Commitments to NHS
At the upcoming SUN board meeting Jan. 17, 7:30–8:45pm, Central Park Recreation Center Multipurpose room, the SUN board will work with interested community members about formation of a long-term oversight committee for monitoring fulfillment of DPS’s commitments to Northfield High School. Any community member interested in a multiyear role on this committee, particularly parents of early-elementary school-age children, and/or retirees, should feel encouraged to attend to learn more.
Jan. 17 SUN Block Captain Meeting
At the Jan. 17 SUN Block Captain/Outreach meeting (6:30–7:25pm), the community will hear development updates regarding the Punch Bowl Social site, any available plans for transit-oriented development around the Central Park Train Station, and updates about the Central Park Bridge completion.
Amanda Allshouse, is president of the Stapleton United Neighbors Board of Directors, and an instructor in the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics at the Colorado School of Public Health.