COLUMBUS — Columbus High student enrollment surpassed 1,200 this fall, the first time the school has topped that figure in more than a decade.
The new high school along 33rd Avenue north of 38th Street, which opened to students March 20, has an enrollment of 1,228 for 2017-18, according to figures Superintendent Troy Loeffelholz shared during Monday night's school board meeting.
That’s the highest enrollment for the high school going back at least 12 years, the superintendent said during the board’s Committee of the Whole meeting. The high school’s enrollment during 2016-17 was 1,161 students.
The school’s freshman class is the largest at 329 students. Grades 10 and 12 also are above 300 at 306 and 307 students, respectively. The school’s 11th-graders number 286 students.
The district’s total enrollment, grades K-12, is creeping up on 4,000. The 2017-18 enrollment is 3,910, a jump from 3,825 students a year ago. An educational consultant a few years ago projected the district’s enrollment would reach 4,000 by 2017.
“We’re the right size for the kids that actually live here and option enrollments,” Loeffelholz told board members.
The district’s current status on option enrollment this year is 60 students who have optioned in and about 30 who have optioned out, he said.
Columbus Middle School, which moved into the old high school in September after a summer-long reconfiguration project, has also seen an enrollment spike.
At the new CMS, which shifted fifth-graders from elementary schools to the middle school, enrollment swelled from 850 students in 2016-17 to 1,122 this year.
The district’s five elementary schools, Centennial, Emerson, West Park, North Park and Lost Creek and pre-kindergarten, have a total enrollment of 1,560 this year, a dip from 1,814 in 2016-17.
“We lost some elementary students and the middle school found ‘em,” joked Loeffelholz.
The district’s strategic plan for school modernization called for a new high school, larger middle school and shifting fifth-graders to create space for cramped elementary schools.
In other business, Loeffelholz said a district-owned 17-acre plot of land along East 14th Avenue near the Armed Forces Readiness Center that was purchased about 25 years ago as a possible site for an elementary school is back on the real estate market.
The potential buyer who was looking at the property is no longer interested, but there are two others who are “very interested," the superintendent said.
In a couple of months, Loeffelholz told board members, something should be happening with that property.