Capistrano Unified will add 10 portable classrooms to San Juan Hills High School to accommodate a large jump in enrollment for the incoming freshman class.
The class of 2018 is clocking in at slightly more than 800 students, said Alan Trudell, interim chief communications officer for the district.
For comparison, last year the San Juan Capistrano-based campus – the district’s newest comprehensive high school – enrolled 645 students, Trudell said. The current graduating class has 453 seniors.
Since San Juan Hills opened in 2007, it has been an “open enrollment” campus for students coming from all over the sprawling district. Annual events, called “The Stallion Showcase,” attempted to attract students from outside its boundary areas, which include San Juan Capistrano, Capistrano Beach and most of Ladera Ranch.
In addition, students from Talega in San Clemente may also choose to enroll in San Juan Hills because the property owners helped build the school with special taxes.
This year, more than 324 students from outside SJHHS attendance boundaries applied to become a Stallion, Trudell said.
Trudell said the district has not analyzed the breakdown of the new students’ hometowns. He says the influx comes from a “bubble” of aging students, even though overall, enrollment is declining in Capo.
“[It’s] an increase in secondary enrollment – [a] natural progression through the grades,” Trudell said.
The 10 portable classrooms is the maximum state law allows CUSD to add to the school, he added.
The Board of Trustees has indicated an interest in purchasing a 4-acre lot next to the campus after urging the City Council to deny the project – which it did earlier this year. Trudell called this possible expansion of the San Juan Hills campus a “work in progress” with no specifics yet.