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The City Journals

Monte Vista expansion will give more classroom, collaboration space

Sep 09, 2019 11:10AM ● By Julie Slama

Several portables were moved to the north side of Monte Vista Elementary this past summer to prepare for the 42-year-old school’s new addition. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

When Monte Vista students returned to school this fall, they may have had to look twice for their portable classrooms.

That’s because several of the 11 portables were moved to the north side of the school, clearing the way to build an addition of six additional classrooms, a collaboration room and a conference room on the east side.

Construction was anticipated to begin at press deadline.

“We will have about 880 students this fall, which means after the addition, we will only need five portables,” Principal Nanette Ririe said. “The school was built for a smaller area in 1977, so we’re needing to adjust it to fit the size of our community now.”

Jordan District Facilities Director Dave Rostrom said the original school building has 59,863 square feet. After the addition is complete next fall, it will have more than 70,000, about 5,000 less than the square footage of typical new schools.

“We’re careful not to make our schools too large because then we’ve learned as neighborhoods change, we may run into empty schools,” he said. “Plus, this leaves blacktop for the students to play.”

The Jordan Board of Education approved the project on July 30 with a total construction cost of $2.8 million. GSBS Architects and Entelen Design Build will construct the addition.

Ririe said the new classrooms and the remaining portables will house students in the upper grades, but the collaboration room, which will have a projector and screen, will be available for activities for all grade levels.

“There will be construction near the area of drop-off and pickup on the playground, but we are arranging a safe area for our students,” she said. “We will have extra people to monitor students’ safety, and we will rearrange recess and building access for our third and fourth graders. Our first priority is children’s safety at all times.” 

Within the first 10 days of school, the entire school will focus on safety drills, she said.

“We’ll have two exits not operational during construction, and we’ll have met with our safety director, so we will learn how to leave the building in case of emergency and practice that monthly,” she said. 

As far as recess, Ririe said playground aides will wheel out carts of equipment and lead games in the available blacktop space. A construction fence will keep children away from work on the school addition.

“It’s not unusual for schools to remodel and upgrade, and through it all, students are the first priority,” she said. “We will work out plans to keep noise levels at a minimum during school hours so students can learn. I’m super excited about what this is going to look like. It’s been a great collaboration effort between students, teachers, faculty, the district and community. It will allow us to have more building space; we’ll be able to feel more connected.”

Rostrom said this project is one of several within Jordan School District. This fall, five new schools will open, including Mountain Creek Middle, in South Jordan. In addition, nearby Bingham High is undergoing renovation of its performing arts area as well as updating its piping for water and its lighting as well as installing new data lines. Eventually, upgrades will be for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, along with improvements for the media center, offices, some classrooms, gyms and dance rooms. Several other schools in the district are receiving security vestibules, various renovations, updated athletic facilities and improved parking lots.