Two new schools being built in Bluffdale
Jul 25, 2018 03:35PM
● By Jet Burnham
The rebuild of West Jordan Middle, the oldest building in the district. (Jordan School District)
By Jet Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bluffdale Elementary, at 14323 South 2700 West, is bursting at the seams. Even after filling 12 portable classrooms and adopting a modified traditional schedule to stagger the classroom hours of nearly 1,300 students, the school is still overtaxed.
“We were definitely feeling overcrowded this last year,” said PTA President Adrienne Donner. She said 200 additional students registered over the summer last year, causing the office to scramble to hire more assistants before the school year began. Teachers worked longer hours, and extracurricular programs had to be suspended.
“We can’t have things like a play or a choir because there are classes being held on our stage,” said Donner.
Jordan School District is digging in to address the problem. Approximately 4 miles east of the school, they broke ground on a new elementary school with the capacity for 900 students and a new middle school with the capacity for 1,250 students.
Jordan District School Board Vice President Matthew Young said Principal Karen Eagan and the teachers and students at Bluffdale Elementary have done a great job adapting to their circumstances.
“I can only hope and pray that the new elementary school will carry on the amazing legacy and carry over that same spirit that permeates the halls of Bluffdale Elementary,” he said.
A small group of fifth-graders sang Bluffdale Elementary’s school song at the May 25 groundbreaking ceremony of the two new schools, which are being built across the street from each other. City leaders, Jordan School District representatives and Bluffdale residents were also in attendance.
Bluffdale City Councilmember Ty Nielsen said the community has been waiting a long time for these schools to be built.
“It makes me feel good to be a part of this,” he said. “We’re bringing not just one school but two right next to each other to help bring our immediate community together and to educate and change the lives of these children.”
The development also includes a 25-acre park adjacent to the middle school, creating a total of 60 acres of public use land. The new schools are designed with collaborative workspaces, where students will be able to participate in group learning experiences.
“It will serve today’s kids in the way they need to be served,” said Young. “The day and age of the teacher standing in front of rows of students and pushing knowledge that way—we know that doesn’t work effectively. Today’s kids need to be able to engage with one another, exchange ideas, experience learning.”
Jordan District currently serves 53,000 students. District officials have been monitoring the explosive growth within the boundaries. Young said they anticipate more than 56,000 students in the next two years.
“This area is continually growing and expanding to our south,” he said. “They estimate in this Independence Valley alone, by the time these schools are completed, there will be another 600 homes.”
The two schools in Bluffdale—and another four currently under construction—were funded by the $245 million bond approved by Utah taxpayers in 2016.
“We are so appreciative of their willingness to say yes, to invest in the future of their children and our children,” Young said. “Without the bond, building these schools would have been impossible.”
Schools currently under construction include the elementary and middle school in Bluffdale, the West Jordan Middle School rebuild, a middle school in South Jordan, and a high school and elementary school in Herriman.
All are scheduled to open for the 2019–20 school year, with the exception of Bluffdale's middle school, which will be ready the following year.
Jordan District officials anticipate being under budget for the six projects. District Facilities Services Director Dave Rostrom said any leftover funds will be applied to the purchase of property for additional future schools.