Jordan School District breaks ground on new elementary designed to decrease over-crowding in West Jordan schools
Jul 29, 2019 03:31PM
By Jet Burnham
Gov. Gary Herbert joins representatives from Jordan District and West Jordan City for the groundbreaking of a new elementary school in West Jordan on April 24. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)
By Jet Burnham | [email protected]
Overcrowded schools in West Jordan have caused neighborhoods to be split as families choose to send their children to schools outside their boundary area.
“A lot of people in our neighborhood, they put their kids in charter schools, they take their kids to magnet schools, they take them other places because the school we're assigned to is so overcrowded,” said Stephanie Traver, whose child attends Oakcrest Elementary. She is excited about the new elementary school being built at 8860 S. 6400 W. “This is going to be so wonderful because a lot of these people who are going all these different places are now going to come back here.”
Kuuipo Vea took her daughter out of the neighborhood school when the overcrowding started to affect her academic performance.
“We've been homeschooling for a couple of years because it's so crowded—we had 34 in a third grade class—just the teacher and 34 kids,” said Vea. "She wasn't getting the one-on-one attention that she needed, so her reading was slipping. It was suffering, and so our option was to bring her home so we could focus on getting her on grade level.”
Traver, a former teacher, said she has been asked to tutor many of the neighborhood kids who are behind in reading and math. She said when classes are overcrowded, struggling students aren’t able to get the extra help they need.
“I just feel like when the classes are smaller, and they can get more of the one on one that they need, and the teachers can give the attention and time,” said Traver.
Jordan District Board of Education member Janice Voorhees, who will be the representative for the new school, understands the issues of the rapidly growing community—some of her grandchildren attend the overcrowded schools in the area. The new school, built with a capacity of 1,000 students, will alleviate overcrowding of nearby schools such as Oakcrest and Hayden Peak and Copper Canyon.
West Jordan Mayor Jim Riding attended the groundbreaking for the school on April 24. While antelope currently graze in the field that is the school’s future home, Riding said surrounding open land won’t stay undeveloped for long. He said the city has 23,000 acres of open land, and that as developers build more homes, more schools will be needed.
Recent boundary changes in Jordan District have addressed overcrowding issues, and it has secured land for future needs due to expansion west of Mountain View Corridor.
The new school is being built with surplus from the bond which paid for several new schools opening this fall, including Mountain Point Elementary in Bluffdale, Mountain Creek Middle School in South Jordan, Mountain Ridge High School and Ridge View Elementary in Herriman, and the replacement building for West Jordan Middle School in West Jordan. Hidden Valley Middle School will open in Bluffdale in 2020. Jordan District board member Dale Robinson said because construction costs came in under budget, extra funds will build additional schools in the coming years.
The new elementary school will open in the fall 2020. Parents look forward to having a school closer to their homes, where they can be nearby and where their children can walk to school instead of being bused.
Travers believes when kids attend school together, it strengthens their relationships and the neighborhood. “If you're in the same class, you're going to the same school; I think that helps the neighborhood,” she said.
Riding, whose wife is an elementary school principal, said elementary schools play an important role in uniting communities. He said while high schools tend to create rivalries within an area, elementary schools do the opposite.
“Elementary schools like this one will create a community,” he said. “It creates a hub.”