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New high school rumored location needs to be reconsidered

A+plot+of+untouched+land+resides+on+Old+Furnace+Road%2C+as+a+much+more+viable+option+for+the+location+of+a+new+high+school.
A plot of untouched land resides on Old Furnace Road, as a much more viable option for the location of a new high school.

A plot of untouched land resides on Old Furnace Road, as a much more viable option for the location of a new high school.

Sarah Earle

Sarah Earle

A plot of untouched land resides on Old Furnace Road, as a much more viable option for the location of a new high school.

Sarah Earle, News Editor

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There’s no denying the dire need for a new high school in Harrisonburg in order to solve the issue of overcrowding. The only issue is the rumored location for this much needed project, located right behind Valley Lanes on Main Street, could not be any more inefficient. The disadvantages far outnumber the advantages. With plenty of more viable options, including the farmlands near Old Furnace Road or off of Smithland Drive, we’d be much better off with a place that isn’t a short ride down the street from the current high school, but rather on the other side of town where more subdivisions lie.

It takes me fifteen minutes to get to the current high school since I live on the other side of town. On my side of town, over by the mall, there is Skyline Middle School and Smithland Elementary School. However, for these two schools, it takes quite a bit of time to reach the high school, as well as the other schools in the system. With plenty of farmland available nearby and open for negotiation, we could easily have a high school built neighboring the elementary and middle school. With a location right around here, Interstate 81 is a close minute away while the large percentage of students residing in subdivisions right around this area have an easy commute to school. It’s crucial that we look for an area that is on the other side of Interstate 81, that way we equally allocate our schools from one end to another in our growing city.

Building a high school near the landfill and right on the side of Interstate 81 is not ideal. This plot of land, hidden behind car lots and businesses, looks too overcrowded and would look very compacted in the awkward space. Not only that, but the noise pollution would be dreadful. How can any student, or even teacher, concentrate when there is constant traffic zooming by on the interstate? The traffic of getting in and out of that location would be horrendous as well. The hectic traffic on Main Street doesn’t make it suitable for buses and cars to flow in and out of the space. Besides that, but this location is right down the street from the current high school; it’s not even on the other side of 33. The whole east side of Harrisonburg is not benefiting. How could anyone safely walk or ride a bike to school?

The land examined at this property is condensed with layers and layers of rock, as the land drops deep below the surface of 81. After spending numerous amounts of time attempting to get rid of the rock, the land will be even lower, and copious amounts of dirt will be needed to resupply the hole, making the whole project more expensive. By the time all of this costly construction of adjusting the land is complete, more time will be spent trying to actually build the high school. So much wasted money goes into the building process, especially when there are a sufficient amount of other locations that don’t require as much labor. We’re pushed back two years before the process actually begins, but I expect it to be another two or three years before it would open.

As JMU continues to acquire the entire town, this rumored location just so happens to be owned by JMU. The only thing is, the price JMU wishes to sell this property to HCPS is way higher than what they purchased. After realizing how unsuitable this land turned out to be for a new convocation center, the university wants to pass it off to the city schools, but it’s clearly evident that this land hasn’t been functional enough for anyone, as it sits in an inconvenient spot between car lots on Main Street and Interstate 81.

There will never be a perfectly central location for the high school, for we gave that up over ten years ago. Since we built the current high school out in the middle of nowhere against the county lines, it only makes sense to put the newer high school on the other county lines, which is on the other side of town. We may never have the quintessential high school, but we need to make sure that when determining our final location, the school system considers a location that has components that are practical and convenient for everyone.

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New high school rumored location needs to be reconsidered