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Will high school go in near Micron?
Alpine District agrees to buy 50 acres in Lehi

LEHI -- A hoped-for new high school in Lehi may be built before Micron ever opens its doors.

With rising enrollment figures in mind, Alpine School District's Board of Education agreed this week to pay $42,000 an acre for 50 acres near the unfinished computer-chip plant. Construction on the school could start as soon as 2003, district officials said.But that depends on how many homes crop up in such northern Utah County cities as Lehi, Alpine, Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, said Superintendent Steven C. Baugh.

Baugh said school leaders are keeping an eye on the growth in those towns to determine when and where new schools will be built. A report on the number of issued building permits in those cities will be given to the school board by the time school opens this fall.

"We want to have those figures so we can compare likes to likes," he said.

Most likely, though, the school would be built in 2006, in time to handle an influx of Alpine secondary school students. After a slight decrease, numbers are expected to rise again in 2003, according to district records.

"There is really no need (for a high school) right now," said Keith Bradford, the district's business manager. "(But) the 50 acres is what we try to do for a high school."

According to the purchase contract, the owners, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, kept 1.26 acres adjacent to the land to use as a site for a seminary building near the high school.

The church will continue to farm alfalfa on the land until construction begins. In the meantime, the church farm will lease the land on the southwest corner of 8000 West and 10800 North for $1 an acre per year.

The Lehi high school may be the second school to be built within the city's boundaries in the near future. A 12-acre plot was purchased in April as a potential site for the fourth new elementary school promised to voters when they passed a $66.9 million bond and leeway issuance last summer.

The public revenue package increases property taxes about $63 on a $100,000 home incrementally over a three-year period. Bond and leeway funds will be used to build schools, renovate existing buildings, buy land, increase access to technology and reduce class sizes.

Both of the Lehi land purchases were made with money from the bond issuance, Bradford said.

Construction has started on three elementary schools in Alpine, Orem and Pleasant Grove. Although district officials purchased the land in Lehi, a final decision on where the fourth school will be has not been made.

"The question remains: What will happen in the fall of 2000?" Baugh said. "The board needs to know the growth data to determine the location."