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Jordan School District discusses school construction plans

Nov 02, 2017 02:22PM ● Published by Mariden Williams

Construction is going well at the site of an upcoming Herriman high school, slated to open in 2019. (Mariden Williams/City Journals)

By Mariden Williams | mariden.w@mycityjournals.com   

Riverton students will have several new schools to attend in the coming years, according to the Jordan School District’s annual report to the Riverton City Council. Riverton’s three representatives on the Jordan School District Board of Education—Matt Young, Tracy Miller and Darrell Robinson—presented the school district’s current construction schedule in a meeting on Oct. 3.

“From prior years, the plan hasn’t morphed much,” said Young. Construction is proceeding as planned: Two elementary schools that were scheduled to open in 2017—Golden Fields Elementary in Daybreak and Bastian Elementary in Herriman—are now open and fully operational. 

The two new elementary schools have alleviated some of district’s crowding problems, according to Miller. Although five of Riverton’s six elementary schools are still over capacity, they are much less crowded than they used to be. This year, Midas Creek Elementary dropped enough students that it was able to switch from year-round school to a traditional schedule. This leaves Foothill Elementary as Riverton’s only year-round school—and also its most crowded.

“When we’ve surveyed parents in the past, it is pretty overwhelming that our parents would like to be on a traditional schedule,” Miller said, adding that 70 to 80 percent of respondents favor it over a year-round schedule. “So when we can, we move our schools to traditional.”

There are two middle schools currently under construction. 

“One is in the Daybreak area, and walls are already going up there,” said Young. The other is being built on the same site as the existing West Jordan Middle School. Once complete, the old West Jordan Middle School will be torn down and used as the parking lot for the new building. 

The 2018–2019 school year is projected to bring two more elementary schools—one in Bluffdale and one in Herriman— and one new middle school, also slated for Bluffdale. This marks a departure from last year’s construction plan. 

Previously, it was supposed that the new middle school would be built in Herriman, in which case it would have ended up serving many Riverton students. But ultimately, it was decided that the Herriman location was too close to South Hills Middle School, so the location was shifted to Bluffdale. 

“We recognize that there will be some bussing that will be required, but that would have been required in one direction or the other,” said Young.

One of the biggest projects on the construction docket is a new high school, set to open for the 2019–2020 school year. According to Robinson, the new high school will be just a little under 400,000 square feet in size and will have capacity for around 2,500 students. 

“The contractor tells me that we are running on schedule, maybe even a little ahead of schedule,” Robinson said. “The grading’s done, and we’re starting to put the foundation in now.”

The new high school, which has not yet been named, will be located in Herriman. 

“It really is not a Herriman high school; it’s a tri-city high school,” Robinson said.” No boundaries have been set yet, but Robinson projects the majority of its students will actually be from the east side of Riverton. 

Riverton and Herriman are collaborating to build a new road leading to the new high school. This road will be instrumental to keeping traffic flowing smoothly in the area once the school is opened, and it’s being funded in large part by the Utah State Legislature, which has contributed a total of $4.5 million to the project.

“Without the legislative appropriations, it would have been very difficult for either city to do that,” said Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth. “So I would like to give a big thanks to Dan McCay, our Riverton representative, who helped a lot to get that through.” 

Once construction on the new Herriman high school is complete, the Jordan School District will probably hold off on building any more schools, at least for a little while.

“At this point we do not project any new school openings in 2021 or 2022,” said Young. “We figure there’ll be a year where we need to catch our breath a bit, with all the construction that we’re doing.”  

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