YUKON — Yukon classrooms may be filled to bursting this year, but relief is on the way. Concrete and steel are well out of the ground at the new Yukon High School near State Highway 4 and Vandament Avenue. The new campus is on track to open for the 2011-12 school year, Superintendent Bill Denton said. The school will have space for 2,500 students. "It's a little tight right now,” Denton said. "We've been for years adding on classrooms; we're at capacity.” When the new high school opens, other grades will be reconfigured to accommodate the district's growth. About 1,500 sixth- through eighth-graders will move into the current high school in 2011-12. Fourth- and fifth-graders will move from each of the district's seven elementary schools into the two middle school campuses, about 500 students in each, Denton said. That will give the elementary schools more room to grow, he said. There currently are about 7,200 students in the district, Denton said, but it continues to grow each year. Denton said the quality of the curriculum and teaching staff is what brings many people to Yukon. "We've been a recognized, outstanding school system,” he said. "I think folks are looking for that. Even the last few weeks of school, people were moving into our district. People are seeing the new high school campus, and that's attractive to folks.” On a recent summer day, Denton took a group on a tour of the new building. "Everybody is pretty excited about all of the prospects and what it will allow us to do,” he said. The building will cost about $70 million, and is being paid for by a $93 million bond issue passed in 2008. The bond issue also is paying for a 6,000-seat football stadium and a wellness center that will house most of the school's athletics programs. The stadium and wellness center also are expected to be open by fall 2011. New softball, baseball and soccer fields will be built later, school officials have said.
Other projectsThe district also is in the process of several additional building projects. Some renovation is being done to the current high school, Denton said, and a cafeteria will be completed by January at Surrey Hills Elementary School. "We've got plenty to occupy our time,” Denton said. Despite the positives, Denton said he worries about state funding in light of this year's budget cuts. "I don't think any administrator today is very comfortable,” he said. "But we are trying to keep ahead of our growth.” Denton anticipates about $2.8 million in cuts for the coming year. Still, he's been able to keep most of his teaching and support staff. The only teachers cut were two temporary contract teachers, he said. The rest of his staff cuts were absorbed through attrition. "We've made cuts and we're getting leaner, but we're still trying to protect the classroom,” he said.