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The City Journals

Laying down the welcome mat at new Mountain Creek Middle

Oct 03, 2019 01:49PM ● By Julie Slama

South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey welcomes the community to the new middle school, which she said is “the heart of the community.” (Photo courtesy of Tim Brooks/Mountain Creek Middle)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

A week after the new South Jordan middle school opened, most everything was seeming to go like clockwork. 

Sure, there was a hiccup or two, as furniture had yet to arrive for the media center, touch-ups of paint still needed to be done, custodians were using the box office as their office until it was completed, and the indoor track wasn’t quite ready for students in the gym. 

But the students were in the classrooms learning — or at least in the instrumental music classroom, students were teaching their instructor how to open the new lockers.

Mountain Creek Middle School, built near Golden Fields Elementary on Kestrel Rise Road and Bingham Rim Road, opened days before the school year on Aug. 15 with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, where Mayor Dawn Ramsey welcomed seventh, eighth and ninth grade students to their new school.

“We are thrilled for the completion of our new Mountain Creek Middle School,” she said. “With an opening day enrollment of nearly 1,100, this school is very needed.”

Ramsey, who has worked with Principal Mike Glenn and his team in various capacities in the past years, said she appreciates them as well as the community for the new school.

“This beautiful new building was impressively built on time and under budget and will serve our community well for decades to come,” she said. “Thank you to the Jordan District Board of Education and administration and to the taxpayers, who approved funding for this new school. It is a wonderful addition to the rich educational opportunities available in South Jordan.”

District Director of Facility Services Dave Rostrom said last winter the school would cost about $29.5 million and could accommodate up to 1,800 students.

Assistant Principal Tim Brooks credits the welcoming of students to the student leaders, who gave tours and was a part of the ceremony that also invited the Jordan Board of Education, VCBO architecture firm, DWA general contractor, Herriman High drumline and other community members.

Ninth grader Clare Mortmer said welcoming students was important to her.

“I moved to South Jordan in sixth grade, and I had to adjust and gain my confidence,” she said. “I wanted to welcome students to this new school because I knew there might be some who were like me, needing a smile, needing someone to get to know and say hi.”

Clare and her classmates learned in January last year that they likely would be transferring schools in their last year of middle school.

“I was nervous because I didn’t want to lose my friends, but about 95% came here, so it’s OK,” she said. “Plus, it’s closer to my house.” 

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Kate Brown was given the privilege of leading the first pledge of allegiance at the new middle school.

“There were a lot of people there; I couldn’t see them all,” she said. “I just wanted to show people around, to help them.”

Student leader Noble Suman said he photographed not only the ceremony but as people came to tour the school.

“I caught how excited, how proud they were to be Moose,” he said about the school mascot the students voted for over the other choices before the school opened. “We have a lot of school spirit already.”

During the seventh grade orientation, student leaders, who had toured the school during the final stages of construction in July, showed the incoming students around the school, which included several students’ favorite room — the auditorium, which seats about 800 students and has bright-colored LED lights.

The 178,000-square-foot school design is the same as Sunset Ridge Middle in West Jordan, with modifications, Glenn said. Some alterations include installing a secure vestibule at the main entrance, adjustments in the stairways and learning communities, adding bullet-proof film on classroom windows and incorporating the colors — navy blue, ivory and copper — students voted on before the construction was completed.

The school has 54 teaching areas, all with voice enhancement systems; a maker room; pottery room with a kiln; a career and technical education room where a 3D printer could be used among six science rooms; four art rooms; family and consumer science rooms with nine cooking stations and 36 Bernina sewing machines; a dance room; a fitness room; a band room; and a choir room. All rooms have flat-panel television sets instead of monitors or overhead projectors.

The cafeteria, which seats about 630 students, has multiple serving lines and a commons area for students to eat meals. The media center includes a computer lab as well as an adjacent instructional room. The gym has multiple basketball courts as well as an indoor track. There is a multi-use sports field to the south of the school.

“It was cool to see how the school has changed from a month ago to now,” said their classmate, Jonah Schneider. 

After a week at the school, students say it feels more like home — their home.

“The teachers are great and really care about us, wanting us to succeed,” Clare said. “It’s super exciting to be here at a new school, where we’re making it become ours.” 

The student leaders also helped to determine how to embrace the school spirit through a time capsule planned to be put in this fall as well as a variety of recognitions and assemblies. 

Students will be recognized for TRACKS (teachable, resilient, ambitious, creative, kind and safe) tender and have quarterly drawings. There will be a Moose of the Day, Month and Quarter awards as well as those for honor roll, perfect attendance and citizenship amongst others, Brooks said.

“We’ve already have done the Moose Stomp, which is really a kick, at an assembly,” he said. “We have a Moose handshake, and the music instructor is developing a school song. We’re planning a spirit week, a dance, morning YouTube announcements on a private channel and more activities to welcome our students.”

Mountain Creek Middle, which had its name approved in the spring, has an enrollment of 1,080 as of late August. That was higher than what administrators had planned. Last spring, they had projected to welcome 1,000 students.

“We’re almost daily adding kids and hiring more teachers,” Brooks said, adding that they house about 90 Chinese dual-immersion students and currently aren’t taking any students outside the school boundaries. 

He is pleased students are taking ownership and pride in their new school.

“We want to make this a better place, with people being kind,” said Noble, who is a ninth grader. “It’s a great school, and we’re going to become the best students and people we can be.”