I think I may have written about this somewhere before, but I can't find it so I'll just write it again.... When I first came to this town there were three junior high schools which I rotated around each week. 3 years ago these three schools merged and a brand new school was built on a completely new site. This is becoming a very common thing here in Japan and although I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the smaller schools I think in the end it is probably for the best - financially as well as in terms of social interaction with other students and sporting opportunities. Another school has since joined the main school - so it is now a merger of 4 different junior high schools. I can't work out exactly how many students there are at the new school, but it is still not more than 200.... I'll check later!
The biggest problem with this is that there are now 4 junior high schools which are no longer being used and which are deteriorating by the day. There are plans to use some parts of the old schools for accommodation or community center activities, but the majority of the schools no longer pass the earthquake regulations and therefore need to be demolished. This is a huge cost, but our town has just pulled down the first one - leaving the gym and science block for general public use. It was my favorite junior high school, the one that my husband attended (obviously well before I met him!) and the school that my children would have gone to. It is kind of sad driving past it every day and seeing the cleanup progressing. I'm guessing it will be replaced with a huge carpark...... not sure for who to use, but probably cheaper than trying to keep the grass down in the area every year.