Mascot and colors decided for new North Fork High School in Hotchkiss

The decision to combine Hotchkiss and Paonia High Schools was finalized in February
The decision to combine Hotchkiss and Paonia High Schools was finalized in February(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:36 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - After years of discussion, the Delta County School District decided in February to combine Hotchkiss and Paonia High Schools. The new school will be named North Fork High School. Following a recent vote, the district has announced that North Fork’s mascot will be the Miners, and the school will use Paonia’s current color scheme of red and black.

The new school will operate out of the current Hotchkiss High School building. Paonia K-8 students will move into the current Paonia High School. Nicole Milner, the parent of an incoming North Fork freshman, says many people in Paonia are frustrated by the consolidation.

”Now we have all have to travel, and Paonia has kind of lost everything as far as their schools,” Milner says. “Hotchkiss High School gets to stay where they’re at, [but] it’s displacing pretty much every Paonia student.”

The school district says combining both high schools will allow for a wider array of classes and other resources. They are anticipating just over 300 students at North Fork High School in the fall. The district insists that combining Hotchkiss and Paonia will be in students’ best interests.

“Any time you close a school in a community it’s hard,” says Caryn Gibson, Superintendent for Delta County School District. “But long term, what we want to be able to offer our students was the main driving force. They will be able to take a music class, they will be able to have Spanish, to have AP classes, just to be able to give them the same opportunities that they have in a larger school in our district, such as Delta High School.”

Part of the school district’s plan is to renovate the current Paonia High School, which will now house K-8 students. The budget for this entire consolidation project is $650,000.

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