600 More Students, 600 More Problems


Tyne Vanderbilt

The crowded commons before school.

Morgan Thompson, Editor

From moving the freshmen up to the high school, to still being in the midst of a pandemic, new problems seem to be coming up by the day this school year. Students are complaining about the crowded hallways, driving traffic, and lack of parking spaces, while administration is trying to deal with hallway traffic and a lack of space and classrooms in the school.

The main source of these issues? Our school is overflowing with students. During the 2020-2021 school year, we had 1700 students coming to in-person school (excluding fully online students). This averages out to about 565 students per grade. This school year, since adding ninth grade to our building, Taylorsville High School has over 2900 students, which is 600 more than the district was originally expecting, almost doubling the student population from the previous year.

There had been talk of bringing ninth grade to Taylorsville High School for about five years prior to adding freshmen. Taylorsville High is the last school in the district to make the switch. The purpose of this is mainly motivated by inclusion of freshmen in the high school experience. 

“Overall it’s probably better for them,” said junior Jenna Marchant. “I feel like it’ll help them mature faster because they’re in more adult-ish situations.”

This was one of the main goals of including the freshmen. It helps them understand that once in ninth grade, academics really do start to matter. The curriculum becomes more serious. Another motivation to move the ninth graders up to the high school was to make it easier for them to participate in sports and other team events. More information about the district’s reasoning can be found in a flyer put out by Granite School District.

But do the pros outweigh the cons? Here are some of the main concerns that come with adding the freshman this year.


Health Concerns

The health of our students is one of the major issues that comes along with 1200 additional students, especially when the Coronavirus is still spreading. Now students are in closer proximity with one another, especially in the crowded hallways. With masks not being mandated, many fear this will cause an increase to the spread of COVID-19.

“I’m sure that there’s going to be a lot of health issues later on in the year with flu season, cold season, and Coronavirus,” said senior Emma Powers. “Even without Covid the flu just goes wild already.”

Utah is still getting over 400,000 positive Covid tests per day, many of these cases being younger people. According to many maps and graphs put out by coronavirus.utah.gov, every county in Utah has a very high rate for positive tests.


Safety Hazards

The maximum capacity for Taylorsville High School is considered to be 2300 students and staff, according to the same flyer put out by Granite School District. This year, with 2900 students alone, the school is well over this limit which can cause some major problems when it comes to safety.

Like every year, there has already been one fire drill this school year, which in most cases seemed to run smoothly. “We were pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of the August fire drill,” said assistant principal, Kelli Miller. It is required that we time these drills […] and report that time to the district office. The time reported for the August Fire Drill was approximately half a minute faster than those conducted over the past few years.”

But what’s to happen in the event of an actual fire when the halls are filled with panic? The hallways are already crowded in between classes, let alone when everyone would be rushing to get out of the building.

“Emotions and worry that students and staff may be feeling during an emergency affects this. However, this is why we have clear emergency protocols, train teachers in those protocols and have plans to practice those protocols throughout the school year,” Miller said. “With training and proper planning, we can know that adults in the building know what to do in the event of an emergency and can guide their students in following the established protocol.”

In the event of an earthquake, there is not enough room to keep all students in all classes safe. In many classes there are not enough desks for students to take cover under during an earthquake. In classes with no desks at all, such as choirs or physical activity classes, there are not enough spaces for every student to protect themselves. 

Lockdowns have a similar story. During a hard lockdown teachers must lock the doors and close the windows, then have every student cram into a corner or behind a desk, out of sight. With 30+ students in most classes, this can be very difficult to have every student sit in a corner of a classroom. Although this has been an issue in the past, going back to the health concerns, this could put more students at risk for Covid-19 because of being in such close proximity.



Just about everyone had a problem with the traffic and parking situation during the first days of school. The parking lot was packed, and lines of traffic were all the way down 5400 and Redwood Road.

“I had to learn really quickly on day one that I had to come earlier if I’m going to get in,” said math teacher Angela Herrin. “It took me fifteen minutes to get from 54th into the parking lot, so it was moving like one or two cars per light, so that was a little crazy on that first day.”

Since then, the traffic problem is starting to work itself out as parents and students find a better system of getting into the school, but the systems they are using are not the most effective. Many students are getting out of their parents’ cars in the middle of the road because they are not able to get into the school dropoff lane. This is dangerous both to students and drivers. Other parents are pulling off to the side of the road to let their children out, which is safer than jumping into the road, but it still has its risks.

Not only is the traffic a problem before school, but after school as well. “After school it’s a 30 minute wait and that’s not fun for anyone,” Powers said. “Unlike before school when students are getting to the school at different times, after school, everyone is leaving at once, causing a lot more congestion.”

“The other day I noticed that school administrators were helping stop traffic and have one go and then the other go, so then it helped get people out of the parking lot faster,” said Marchant. “It’s safer for kids too.”

Getting in and out of the school in a timely manner is not the only issue with the traffic, it is also affecting the air quality. “I think a lot of times that could even cause pollution problems with all the idling,” Powers said. “It’s not only just a time factor but it’s a pollution factor.” Especially with all the smoke currently in the air, we need to be doing all we can to improve the air quality.

Is this issue solvable? Surely, administration cannot be in the parking lot every single day directing traffic, as they have other duties to attend to. Herrin proposes a few ideas.

“We could come up with a way to have an area where it was just drop off for the parents that are dropping off their students. That’s where we have that bottleneck that happens with parents trying to drop their kids off and then they can’t get back out into the traffic to go home,” she proposes. “That’s the problem but I don’t know how much it would cost to be like ‘A new entrance! Ta-da!’”


Student Parking

Trouble with traffic also comes with parking trouble. These concerns have been voiced by many juniors and seniors that drive themselves to school. There just aren’t enough parking spaces. 

There are exactly 390 parking spaces available to students. There are about 1450 juniors and seniors at Taylorsville High School, just under half of which drive themselves to school, plus some occasional sophomores that have their driver’s license. Some students walk, take the bus, are dropped off by parents, or even carpool with others who drive to school. However, with some 700 cars needing to be parked near the school, there is nowhere near enough space. 

Some students are trying to find alternative parking options that are just causing more problems. Those parking in the Hartvigsen School parking lot, located right behind the school, are being ticketed. Some students are parking at the church by the seminary building, which is prohibited. Others are in the Walmart parking lot and walking over to the school, which is causing more problems for Walmart.

Part of the reason for this problem is the new Villa located in the student parking lot. The Villa takes up approximately 200 of the student parking spaces. But even then, 590 would barely be enough parking spaces for the amount of students needing to be in the parking lot.

Not only is the student parking lot suffering, but the faculty parking lot is as well because of the amount of new teachers to accommodate the freshmen.

“Definitely make sure you’re running on time instead of running late because then you’ll have a hard time finding a parking spot,” English teacher, Rachel Butterfield, said. “I’ve just been parking by the relo here, but I can imagine it’s much the same [in the faculty parking lot] since we have a lot more teachers now than we did before, but I would definitely say it’s something we need to improve a little bit.”


The Villa

The big relocatable located in the east parking lot is known as “The Villa.” The Villa includes 16 classrooms, mainly for English classes. As mentioned before, the Villa is causing problems with the amount of parking spaces available to students. 

However, on the other side of the spectrum, many of the teachers are fairly happy with the way the Villa is working out. “I like some of the different features that it has versus in the building,” Rachel Butterfield, one of the teachers located there, said. “I also don’t feel as claustrophobic as you can feel sometimes in the classrooms.”

“I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s fine,” said Herrin, who teaches in the main school building. “I think it’s a good solution for the problem that we can’t build a new school… and for the difficulty we have more students than we have room for.”

Although the Villa was built for a good cause, it too is causing a few more problems. Not only does it take up parking space, but it causes a lot of crowding coming in and out of the main school building. 

“I was talking with some of the other teachers and we’ve been trying to tell students that when you’re coming out to the Villa, come in the side doors instead of the main door because that will help with some of that flow of traffic instead of everyone trying to push against the flow of each other,” Butterfield said. “That’s one thing I think we could do differently out here that could help. It will probably help students get to their next class more easily and faster.”

Both students and teachers have also mentioned the lack of organization in the Villa. Teachers did not receive chairs for their students until the day before school started. As of the third week of school, tables and teacher desks had not yet arrived. The lock on the teacher’s bathroom door does not work.

“I think it’s a really good idea, I just don’t think the idea for it was fully executed to the ability,” Powers said. “I think they probably should’ve taken up a different space other than the parking lot because it does cause a lot of problems in itself. The Villa idea was helpful but it’s not taking care of the big problem.” 


Lack of Space

Last but not least, Taylorsville High School simply does not have enough space for this overflow of students. The Villa is helping somewhat with this, but the Villa does not improve the abnormal class sizes and crowded hallways.

According to Miller, with the addition of the Villa, “our academic maximum capacity now is likely approximately 2,700 [students.]” rather than the 2300 suggested by the district’s flyer. “We are over this number, so we did not accept any new students from outside the boundary all throughout the summer unless they were the sibling of a student who was already enrolled as an 11th or 12th grader.”

With a new maximum capacity of 2700 students, the school still has 200 more students than planned, still making the hallways and classrooms extra crowded.

“Your freedom between classes is gone,” Marchant mentions. Powers adds, “You just end up standing still for a few minutes.”

Overall, adding another grade to our high school is causing many problems that we’re not quite sure how to handle. 

“We know that this has been a difficult transition for many of our students and staff, compounded by the pandemic and all the added complications it brought over the last year and a half,” Miller adds. “As an administrative team, one of our most important jobs is to help create a safe learning and teaching environment for all students and teachers. Therefore, we encourage students, parents and staff members to continue to let us know when you see a concern, and we will work to come up with a resolution that improves that environment.”