July 23, 2008

Students Flock to Be First Enrolled at New Antelope High School

By Deb Kollars, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.

Jul. 23--A numeric surprise has descended on the new Antelope High School opening a month from now: Far more students than expected have signed up, and more are coming every day.

"Everybody's so excited there's a school in their community," said Amanda Scuka, registrar at Antelope High. "They can't wait to come on campus."

The long-awaited campus will open Aug. 21 with freshmen and sophomores. The Roseville Joint Union High School District had anticipated about 700 students would enroll the first year, Antelope High principal John Becker said.

By midday Tuesday, the registrar reported the school had hit 850 students. Many transferred from Oakmont High, another school in the Roseville District that had been overcrowded.

The new campus had so many interdistrict transfers from Center Unified School District and the former Grant Joint Union High School District -- about 45 each -- that it stopped accepting any more outside transfers about a month ago. In addition, at least 40 students have signed up who live in the area but had been attending charter and private schools, Scuka said.

Twelve courses, ranging from art to computers to student government, already are closed because they are full. In art alone, a dozen sections have filled, leaving Becker interviewing candidates Tuesday morning to fill another art teaching position.

"We just keep growing," he said.

Sara Echeveria is among the many parents who have registered their teenagers at Antelope High. She and her husband, Matthew, live about a mile from the new campus and watched with anticipation as it was being built. Their daughter, Allison, attended a local K-8 district, Dry Creek, throughout her childhood. Because the new high school was not ready when she left middle school, she spent her freshman year at Loretto High School, a private Catholic college preparatory school.

Over spring break, Echeveria and her daughter took a tour of Antelope High with Becker. They were sold, and enrolled.

"We thought the facility could not have been more beautiful," the mother said. "It's gorgeous. It's huge. It's state of the art."

Antelope High is the Roseville high school district's fifth comprehensive high school. It was built for 1,600 students, and will offer all four grades two years from now.

The school was a long time coming. For many years, teenagers in the community had to travel significant distances to attend other high schools in the region. After two bond measures failed, voters in the Roseville district finally approved a measure in 2004 that provided $39 million toward the new campus in Antelope, said Roseville's superintendent Tony Monetti.

The school's final price tag will run over $100 million, Monetti said. State and district sources and developer fees are helping to cover the costs, he said.

Located on Elverta Road, the sprawling campus sits amid a sea of new homes. It occupies about 55 acres and offers numerous amenities. Among them:

Classrooms with skylights, contemporary furnishings, and the latest in technological tools. A band room big enough for a professional orchestra. A science stockroom that runs the length of the four labs on each side, equipped with its own stove top and dishwasher and enough beakers and test tubes to make a science teacher's heart beat measurably faster. A competition-sized pool, tennis courts and a football stadium as nice as many found on college campuses.

The school will offer more than 20 sports teams for boys and girls. A 460-seat performing arts theater should open by early 2010. On the academic side, the school is offering a rich array of programs, including bio-medics and engineering.

"The kids who go there are going to have tremendous opportunities," said Jan Pinney, a Roseville board member from Granite Bay.

According to Pinney, Monetti and Becker, the campus will do more than serve high school students. The aquatics center, sports fields and gymnasium all were oriented toward an open side of the campus and will be available to the wider community.

"Our whole goal with this school was to be a part of the Antelope community," Monetti said. "We've been busing the kids out of that area forever."


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