About 200 more students are expected to attend Rock Bridge High School this fall than in previous years, said Assistant Principal Kathy Ritter.
Ritter said the increase stems from redrawn boundary lines.
“That was done about three years ago purposely to help relieve overcrowding at Hickman,” she said.
Rock Bridge, at 4303 Providence Road, had 1,610 students enrolled during the 2004-05 school year. Hickman High School, on the other end of Providence Road, had 1,974 students enrolled in 2004-05, said Christal Jackson, secretary to the district superintendent of student services.
Last year, the average classroom at Rock Bridge had 24 students, Ritter said. The number should be the same this fall, she said.
Ritter said keeping a growing student body connected to the school is a challenge.
“In addition to classroom spaces being overcrowded, I want each student to feel a personal connection to school and that we promote opportunities for involvement in leadership,” Ritter said.
In terms of space, Rock Bridge has so far been able to handle the increase in the number of students each year.
“A major addition to the building, which was completed in the year 2000, doubled the space at Rock Bridge,” Ritter said. “This was done to accommodate the growth that we are now experiencing.”
The new addition allows 1,800 students to attend Rock Bridge, and Ritter said she expects the school will reach that capacity next year.
“This will be the big growth year, and it will taper off, but mobile classrooms will be needed if Rock Bridge continues to grow,” Ritter said.
The predicted enrollment jump is the latest in an annual trend. Rock Bridge has grown by about 800 students since 2000, according to budget documents submitted by the Columbia Public School District.
“For a teacher, you are affected by class size. As the total number of students has gone up, there is more grading, management of the students, staying in touch with parents,” said Jennifer Mast, who has taught at Rock Bridge for seven years.