Record freshman class bumps Steamboat High School enrollment to 839 students | SteamboatToday.com

Record freshman class bumps Steamboat High School enrollment to 839 students

Steamboat Springs High School has a record class of 238 incoming freshmen for the coming year.

An all-time record class of 238 incoming freshmen at Steamboat Springs High School is boosting the student body to within 36 students of the school's official capacity of 875 students.

The official school district enrollment number won't be certified until Oct. 1, but, as of Aug. 25, the number of students at the high school on Maple Street stood  at 839 students, with 206 sophomores, 189 juniors and 199 seniors added to the bumper class of freshmen, according to district figures.

The 839 students at the high school this year represents a 24-percent increase in four years, from 677 students enrolled at the high school in 2013-14, but Superintendent Brad Meeks said the number is manageable.

"Capacity can be misunderstood," Meeks said. "We can accommodate 875 students at the high school (based on a calculation) that includes 35 identified classrooms with a capacity of 25 each. There are certain classrooms that could be repurposed to cover areas we're short in."

The figure that stands out to Meeks is the 200 incoming students in all grades who were not in the district in 2016/2017. The superintendent had a foreshadowing of that last winter, when the district added  50 new students from outside the district during the semester break. But still, this semester's influx was not expected.

"I was curious how many new students to the district we had in grades one through 12 and asked for a report, and there were 200,” he said. “Wow! That's a lot more than I thought. Eighteen were from Routt County, 57 from other Colorado schools and 94 from other states – by our tally 22 different states – and 12 from other countries."

And, with regard to students from elsewhere in Routt County, while the Steamboat Districts has a history of accepting students from the two other public school districts in the county, this fall, only one of 27 requests to transfer here from the Hayden and South Routt school districts was granted.

For now, the the total enrollment of the district, including North Routt Charter School and Yampa Valley High School, stands at 2,627, or 81  more students than the school district planned on.

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Meeks said the district planned and budgeted conservatively for a district-wide student population of 2,546 students. Tentative enrollments at other schools include 92 at North Routt Community Charter School, 562 at Soda Creek Elementary, 607 at Steamboat Springs Middle Schoo, 506 at Strawberry Park Elementary School and 21 at Yampa Valley High School.

"I think it has to do with the quality of life, schools and medical care," Meeks said. "We look at birth rates, obviously, but one of the things that's very hard to predict,” is the influence of the growing trend of location-neutral professionals moving their families into the Steamboat Springs School district.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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