Originally Published: August 14, 2003 6:10 p.m.
"There wasn't enough money or enough students to open the school last year. It was a very awkward position to be in," said new HUSD Superintendent Dr. Henry Schmitt. "But we're financially sound for this coming school year."
About 145 students brought the campus to life on Monday, the first day of the 2003-04 school year. Though the district originally planned to move all freshman classes to the new campus, these students of mixed grade levels are enrolled in non-traditional classes, Schmitt said, such as Culinary Arts and a GED preparatory course. Coming semesters will see the addition of an AUTO CAD class and classes where students can earn an A+ computer certification.
Schmitt said the school board decided to not divide Bradshaw Mountain High School into two complete campuses of entirely separate curricula.
"You don't want to destroy the culture and the entire system by moving half the high school," he said. "You need to preserve the emotional, social and academic culture, the traditions you've established."
After several false starts in acquiring property, the school district finally began construction of its new high school in 2001 on land leased from the Arizona State Lands Department.
Key to the location of the new high school is Prescott Valley's realignment of Robert Road, which now runs past the campus.
Named "Bradshaw Mountain High School East Campus," the school district announced that it would be an extension of the present BMHS campus, and would serve freshmen the next school year. Contractors rushed to finish construction in time for school to open in August 2002.
But a series of financial setbacks left the district unable to open the doors of the new school until this current term.
Schmitt said the addition of classes shows the returning health of the district.
In addition to GED classes, the campus will house the Alternative Learning Center for middle school and high school students whose behavior or study skills require smaller classes or closer supervision.
Other BMHS East classes will focus on teaching students "real world skills" they can take to the workplace. The school district is partnering with local businesses to turn out graduates with the skills that employers want in new hires. Schmitt said he already has talked with many local business owners about what they are looking for in job applicants.
"You have to teach the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, and you might as well throw technology in there, too; that's huge," Schmitt said.
Though he wasn't here during the financial troubles of 2002, Schmitt said he knows that it "knocked the wind out of the district's sails." But he believes the district is nearing complete recovery, and is answering the need to graduate students ready for the local workforce.