Early college high school enrollment increased

More than 120 students apply to enroll

Joshua Kellogg
San Juan College High School Principal Don Lorett, left, and San Juan College High School liaison Natalie Stark introduce the school's new logo Feb. 16 at San Juan College's Quality Center for Business in Farmington.

FARMINGTON – Enrollment at the new early college high school opening this fall in San Juan County has been increased because of a high level of interest from area families.

Enrollment at San Juan College High School for the first class of ninth-graders has been increased from 60 to 80 students after more than 120 applications were received, Principal Don Lorett said. The school eventually will reach a full enrollment of 320 students, up from the 240 students that previously were planned.

“This systemic approach seems to be something our community feels would be advantageous for their students,” Lorett said.

Set to open in August, San Juan College High School will allow students to earn their high school diploma and two years of college credit in four years.

The original enrollment for the first class was projected at 40 students with 20 coming from Farmington, 10 from Aztec and 10 from Bloomfield when the early college high school was announced last year.

That figure grew to 60 students when Farmington’s share increased from 20 to 30 students, and 10 students were added from the Central Consolidated School District.

Farmington’s share recently increased to 50 students while the three other districts remain at 10 students each.

The school staff is conducting family interviews for the 123 applications filed last month, Lorett said.

“We’re very excited about the response from our county,” Lorett said.

Laurie Jordan, high school administrative assistant, said in an email that 26 students applied from Aztec, 13 from Bloomfield, 23 from CCSD and 61 from Farmington.

Since the current number of applicants is greater than the number of spots available, Lorett said the students likely will be selected by lottery.

The plan to increase enrollment also has led school officials to add two classrooms to the four already planned for the first floor of the Learning Commons building on the San Juan College main campus.

About $272,000 in funding from Farmington schools, the New Mexico Public Education Department and the college will transform the nearly 8,000 square feet of space into six classrooms and office space. The classrooms will house students for their first two years. Over their last two years, students will take college courses across campus, Lorett said.

Work on the space in the Learning Commons building will begin after the college’s Student Activities organization has moved out of the space, college physical plant interim director Chris Harrelson said.

The Student Activities group will relocate to an area in the college’s library where law books are currently stored after the space has been renovated, Harrelson said. The library of law books will be relocated to a building at the college’s 30th Street campus.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.