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As enrollment grows, MHS looks to expand

posted Jan 29, 2019, 9:07 AM by Andrew Tichy
By: Isaac Leiseth 

Ever since Horizon West was opened in the fall of 2017, and indeed even before that, questions have surfaced over the expansion of Moorhead High School (MHS) or even the building of a new school. Moorhead High has 1,704 students as of October of 2015 (according to Moorhead Schools’ webpage) with roughly 32 students per class (according to some rough estimation). If you are a student at MHS, there’s a chance that you have noticed the symptoms of overpopulation: a teacher needing to find another chair here, a student without a locker there, or even just the extensive lunch lines and packed commons that comes with third lunch. And this problem will only get worse: on the same page that gave the number for total high school enrollment there was also a grade by grade breakdown of enrollment. If you adjust for the time that has passed since these statistics were updated, and don’t account for new enrollment, then you get some telling numbers:

Grade 3: 577

Grade 4: 516

Grade 5: 519

Grade 6: 514

Grade 7: 483

Grade 8: 448

Grade 9: 458

Grade 10: 445

Grade 11: 413

Grade 12: 459

As you can see by looking at these numbers, there is no huge influx coming, but the number will gradually increase. If these numbers hold true, then in 2024 there will be a total of 2,126 students at the high school, which is 420 students more than it school currently has, and represents a nearly 25% increase in enrollment. When I spoke to Toni Bach, one of the school counselors at MHS, she said that this year’s graduating class is a total of 447 so there is some variation from the numbers taken in 2015, but even with that there are more students coming. In short, Moorhead High is going to need a sizeable expansion sometime within the next six years, and most probably much sooner than that. Mrs. Back also said that no plan have been decided on yet to expand the school or build a new one, and once a plan is chosen “it will be up to the community to decide if this is what is desired and how to pay for it (ie., increase taxes...).” Finally, Bach stated “If those (an expansion or a new school) are my only options then I would vote for building a new one.”