Walking down Broad Street a Ridgewood local could recognize many of their favorites. From Sook pastry to Bagelicious, this street is famous for its well loved establishments. But approaching the end of the road where Broad street becomes Franklin ave, a gigantic wall of wooden panels blocks the sky. This marks the future home of The Ridgewood Stations luxury apartments building. The building, residing on 1 Franklin Ave, is currently under construction by Onyx Equities and is marketed as having 60 luxury apartment suites. This is not the only apartment approved for construction in Ridgewood, with 39 more suites approved for construction in a different apartment building, The Enclave. So with the new apartments being built a question crosses every RHS students’ mind. This will likely be an optimal location for those that commute to the city, being located directly across from the train station. Additionally, Ridgewood was recently ranked 26th among Money Magazine’s “Top 100 Best Places to Live in the United States”. There are also many downtown retailers within walking distance of these apartments, such as Lucky Brand, Starbucks, and Whole Foods. These new apartments will certainly be a popular place to live.
How will these new apartments impact RHS?
Ridgewood HS, with recent classes being of an incredibly large size, has had to make some drastic changes. The most extreme change being the 50-80-50 minute schedule instead of the original 60-60-60. With new apartments being built, could the increase in size brings more changes to RHS? When asked how the apartments could impact the RHS community, specifically with more students coming in, Mr. Nyhuis seemed not too worried. He stated, “We are equipped to handle the increase in class size,” and supported that by adding, “teachers have been dealing with it by giving more appropriate assignments and quicker feedback, instead of longer assignments” Mr. Nyhuis also brought to attention how these new apartments would not mean a huge influx of students. He believes that,”the reality is if (Onyx) is building one or two apartments structures that would be about 120 students spread out K-12, and that number is not going to increase, or impact (RHS).” He also said that, RHS “reached a bubble” and it is projected that after capping out at 1800 students, the grade sizes would start declining, in a couple of years.
A potential solution to overcrowding is an expansion of the Ridgewood High School facilities. A thirty million dollar expansion has been drawn up, and is in consideration to go into a public vote. This expansion includes renovating many performing arts facilities, such as the band classroom, choir room, dance studio, practice and ensemble rooms, etc. This would be an auditorium built where the current faculty parking lot is. There has been discussion at the Board of Education meetings over the past few months about the possibility. The expansion also called for creating a new parking structure, and a “Living/ Learning Green Roof.” Yet perhaps the most exciting component of the expansion is the 1,000 seat performing arts center, which yields an orchestra pit and a Broadway stage. This would be an enormous upgrade from the current auditorium, which seats only 400 spectators, and it is so small it is referred to as the “Little Theater.” Although an expansion could be a simple solution the likelihood of it happening is questionable. Mr. Nyhuis stated that, “It’s something that I would love to see happen but it’s really up to the taxpayers.”
Although more students may be coming into Ridgewood High School, it is unlikely to say that the impact would be severe. With the recent increase in grade levels, the impact to RHS has also not been severe. In reality only speculation can answer who is moving into the apartments, and if any of those people would be attending the public high school in town. As for the expansion the chance of it occurring is debatable, and is up to the people of Ridgewood to decide. Only time will tell if RHS is up to the changes, and more people to come.