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Our Opiniong: Thinking ahead for schools

February 18, 2002

The Calexico Unified School District board and its administrators have come to be known for foresight and planning, and their actions to start moving toward creating a second high school in the city show how they gained such a reputation.

Calexico is mushrooming like no other city in the Imperial Valley, and with neighboring Mexicali's continued growth, the North American Free Trade Agreement fully functioning and the Gateway of the Americas project finally appearing as if it might get going full steam, Calexico will only get bigger.

Calexico High is one of the Valley's largest high schools, and that is with only grades 10 through 12, as opposed to every other high school in the Valley having grades 9-12. While the Calexico High campus manages to contain a teeming student body now, continuing growth in the city soon will have it busting at the seams.

The school board and school officials have decided the wise path would be to take the existing William Moreno Junior High School, which is only about 10 years old, expand onto some nearby vacant acreage and make it into a high school. The district then would build a new junior high near Mains Elementary.

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If this setup eventually comes to fruition, the city would have a junior high and a high school on the west side of town and a junior high and a high school on the east side of town. This would mean that students could go to school together all the way through junior high and high school and build the deep relationships and have the bonding that young people relish in such years. Yes, it might mean a bit of a tear in Calexico's unity, but such is the inevitable result of growth.

There are still hurdles to clear, such as buying the land adjacent to the high school — much of which is set for development of homes — and buying the land for the junior high. And even before that the state must examine the land and decide if the parcels are free enough from toxins for school sites.

Calexico school leaders, who already have two new elementary schools in the works, are responding to the city's rapid growth methodically but proactively, which is the best way to bring aboard new schools.

That is just one more example of why the Calexico school board/administration is seen as one of the best, if not the best, in the Valley.

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