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Park Hill planning a high school center
by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor

Rather than building a third high school, Park Hill School District is exploring what it says are innovative options to address the emerging needs of high school students.

During a recent board of education meeting, a representative of the 14-member committee presented a set of criteria to evaluate options for the high school center.

Construction of the new center is likely a decade away, but school officials see the advantage in planning ahead. The consensus among school officials is that the district doesn't need a third high school at this time. The center would provide some relief of the traditional high school level capacity.

The district's general idea for the new center is to create a place that will reduce over-crowding at Park Hill and Park Hill South and “offer special, innovative programs for all district high-school students,” states the district's website.

The feedback the district receives will help school officials pinpoint specific options for the high school space concept.

An evaluation and analysis of the information gained will be presented in August. The committee is expected to choose ideas to present to the school board in October.

So far, the district has not determined whether the programs offered at the center will focus primarily on academics or more specialized training, such as technical, vocational or agricultural training.

The district will use the developed criteria to help narrow down the list of relevant educational programs the district plans to explore.
The developed criteria will ask participants to rate the importance of the longevity of the programs and the significance of a 21st Century educational environment.

Participants are also asked to rate the importance of integrating the new programs with the existing school programs and whether the program should be inclusive of all types of learners.

Students from both existing high schools will be able to attend programs offered at the center for at least a portion of the day or a few days a week.