District Plans to Rebuild West Jordan Middle School
Apr 08, 2016 10:44AM
By Tori La Rue
By Tori La Rue | [email protected]
West Jordan - The Jordan School District Board of Education is seeking feedback about their proposed 5-Year Building Construction Plan before deciding on an official bond amount for the November ballot.
“We’re trying to be good listeners. This is a community effort,” Susan Pulsipher, president of the board, said. “We want to know what the majority of the community thinks should happen prior to voting on the bond for the ballot. We want it to reflect the will of the community.”
Pulsipher said the new schools are a need. Copper Hills High School has the highest student population in the state, with Herriman High School trailing closely behind in second place, according to data released by the school board. The district can only place so many students in one school before it starts impacting education, Pulsipher said.
After the last bond went “up in a blaze of not much glory,” the district listened to resident comments about frugality and cut back on maintenance and other operation costs in order to fund two elementary schools entirely on capital reserve, Kayleen Whitelock, board member, said during a West Jordan City Council meeting.
The draft of the school board’s 5-year Building Construction Plan proposes the building of six additional schools, funded by bonds – including four schools in the South Valley area and a complete rebuild of West Jordan Middle School.
At 60 years old, West Jordan Middle School is the oldest building in the district, and, according to Pulsipher, the other two schools that were built at the same time have already been torn down and replaced.
Last summer the boiler was replaced and the air conditioning was installed in the building for the first time. It’s only a matter of time before more serious renovations would need to happen at the school, Pulsipher said.
“We talked about a remodel, but after a cost analysis, we realized it’d be cheaper to completely redo the school,” Pulsipher said.
Dixie Garrison, principal at West Jordan Middle School, said she is “completely in favor” of the new school being built, because it would revitalize excitement and learning.
“I believe we would see a bump in achievement because teachers and students would have a space that is comfortable and better facilitates learning,” she said. “The old school has a lot of character, but it also has a lot of problems. It would be important to carry the history of the old building over to the new building.”
Garrison said she’d like to see a new auditorium in the style of the school’s old auditorium because it’s a unique part of the school that the school and community both use, but she said she’d like the district to change the way the school faces to be towards the neighborhood instead of Redwood Road, for safety purposes.
The bond and new school have the potential to show West Jordan Middle School students that education is important to their community, Garrison said.
“It would be a shame if the upcoming bond were to only include money for growth or new schools,” she said. “The students deserve to learn in a facility that is just as nice as any new area of the District.”
The bond amount that will be proposed to fund the new West Jordan Middle School and the other five schools is yet to be determined, but, according to Pulsipher, the school board will determine the details of the bond before May, and it will be on the November ballot. The draft of the building plan estimates that it will take between $208 to $247.2 million to construct these schools, not including furnishings.
The projected cost of the new West Jordan Middle School alone is between $32.5 to $38.5 million, according to the building plan. The plan states that the district would begin construction in 2017, and open the school for the 2019-20 school year.
Residents may review the building plan by searching for “5-Year Building Construction Plan” on jordandistict.org, and may contact the school board with feedback using the board members’ contact information located under the “Board of Education” tab on the same site.