Enrollment, talent booming in Dutchtown

GEISMAR, La. -- Behind the football offices and locker rooms at Dutchtown High School in Baton Rouge's southeast suburbs sits a series of trailers, temporary classrooms that prove the barely 11-year-old school already is overcrowded.

"We'll probably build a freshman campus next," said football coach Benny Saia, who already is lamenting a land-locked campus where the band soon might have to share practice space with the football team if additional buildings spring up. "What will probably happen is they'll build a new school out in (nearby) Galvez."

Dutchtown High is indeed the classic example of American suburban growth. Just one freeway exit on Interstate 10 from Baton Rouge, it sits in a hot growth area of unincorporated bedroom towns filled with new neighborhood developments mixed with homesteads that maintain their rural feel from before the western part of Ascension Parish blew up in the 1990s. A campus built to accommodate 1,500 students is bordering on 2,000 and growing.

"Everybody wants their kids in Dutchtown now," said Saia, a long-time Baton Rouge-area coach.

Including, it would appear, football players.