The short answer: Yes, but it was decided a second high school would be too expensive and the community wasn't behind the idea.
The long answer: A second high school was one option the facilities planning committee considered in depth in 2010. (It seemed inevitable a few years prior and the district had land to build on, but the recession slowed development and caused everyone to examine every dollar spent.) The committee reviewed the cost of a new high school along with other options (re-configuring grades in each building, moving 9th to the middle schools, etc). Informal conversations with residents showed a split between supporting a second high school and wanting to expand OCHS. The suggestion of constructing a new building on the existing high school campus seemed like a good compromise. It wouldn't be prudent to build another addition onto the current high school because of HVAC issues, grading concerns, etc.
A second high school would not only cost nearly twice as much as the proposed building, but it would also require a large increase in operating costs for a second set of administrative positions. Plus there are costs related to PE and athletics: a second pool, a second football field and track, etc.
The 2010 committee made the recommendation to the School Board to expand the high school campus originally in the fields directly east of the main building. The land swap with the city allowed the district to obtain the land west of the high school as well as land for a new elementary school at 20th and Drexel.
Expanding the existing high school with a new building allows OCFSD to keep capital and operating expenses down, bring a referendum with a lower price tag to voters, and provide students with suitable environments to meet their learning needs.
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Posted by Jenny