Campbell County School District board members voted Tuesday to add a second high school in Gillette.
Sound familiar? It should.
I’ve written about this issue before: How the logic doesn’t outweigh the emotion of such a decision (December 2014); how reclassification might fall out if Gillette adds a second school (March 2011); and the ties between a third school in Casper and a second in Gillette (October 2010).
Like I wrote in 2011, the decision to add a second high school in Gillette affects much more than what happens on the playing fields and courts. From a reclassification standpoint, though, the decision could create ripples that will be felt throughout the state.
If the new school opened in Gillette today, for all sports except football Riverton would go to Class 3A, Lovell to Class 2A and Riverside to Class 1A to accommodate the new school. And for football, Evanston would go to 3A, Buffalo to 2A, Wright to 1A 11-man and Upton to 1A six-man. (Remember, right now Lingle and Cokeville fall below the 11-man/six-man cutline but opt up to 11-man.)
The moves for four-class sports (basketball, volleyball, track, etc.), three-class sports (wrestling, cross country, etc.) and two-class sports (soccer, swimming, etc.) are less of a struggle than the moves for football. Remember in 2007 when Riverton debated opting down to 3A? The Wolverines could make that switch pretty seamlessly for most sports.
Football, though, could present a challenge. If Evanston grows a little bit, the 11th school in the WHSAA listings will likely be Sheridan. Neither Evanston nor Sheridan will likely want to move down a classification. Wyoming could go back to an 11-school 4A and an 11-school 3A to accommodate, which complicates scheduling among other concerns.
The new school is tentatively scheduled to open in fall 2017 — right in the middle of a two-year reclassification cycle for the WHSAA. That will further complicate matters….
Like I said in 2011, we could see a completely new high school classification system develop, with the new school in Gillette as the impetus.