Seniors May Stay At Bentonville High During New School’s First Year

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The planned second high school at Bentonville may not have a graduating class its first year in the school district.

Bentonville School Board members Tuesday night discussed the grade configuration at the planned high school on Gamble Road in Centerton, set to open classes by the 2016-17 school year. Board members said the new high school will be a ninth-through-12th-grade school, but it may not have a senior class in its first year.

A senior class the first year has not been fully ruled out, though. Supt Michael Poore said the school district will survey incoming 12th graders that year to see whether they want to be part of the new high school or stay at Bentonville High School.

“If we have enough interest from those kids in going to join those other new kids at the new high school, then we would allow the seniors to go there as well,” Poore said.

Even one year without seniors could affect the rest of the student body, said board member Grant Lightle.

“It will be interesting because you’ll have teams competing without seniors, and you’ll have kids who will have opportunities because there will be so many fewer kids than what they are used to,” Lightle said. “So for the kids that are over there, it will be fantastic.”

Local voters last year approved a millage increase to build a second high school to alleviate overcrowding issues at Bentonville High School, which holds more than 4,000 students but has an ideal capacity of 3,700, Poore said.

The second high school’s capacity is estimated to be about 2,250 students, according to the Bentonville School District. School Board members last summer approved $74 million in bond money to be sought to pay for the new high school.