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The City Journals

New elementary school in Daybreak community has name, principal, staff as construction underway

Apr 01, 2021 02:36PM ● By Julie Slama

Aspen Elementary Principal Suzie Williams snaps a photo while she and school custodian Nick Christensen look at the multi-purpose room in February. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

In January, she saw her new home. It wasn’t that she was eager to move, but as it has taken shape, she is enthusiastic.

By this fall, there will be colors added, a mascot to inspire students and an opportunity for them to learn.

Principal Suzie Williams is excited that the new elementary school being built in Daybreak west of Mountain View Corridor will become her new home-away-from-home.

Its name—Aspen Elementary—was unanimously approved by the Jordan Board of Education Feb. 23 after being selected from others including Inspire, Eagle Valley, Sego Lily and Upper Lake elementaries.

Williams, who served four years as Eastlake Elementary’s principal, already has hired several teachers and staff. On Feb. 18, she walked through the $18.5 million school that was in construction days before the name was announced.  She was joined by school custodian Nick Christensen and district building project coordinator and inspector Dave Bulloch.

The floor plan is familiar, being the same one as several Jordan School District elementaries, including Golden Fields, Antelope Canyon, Bastian, Mountain Point and Ridge View. Bulloch said the floor plan has been used about 30 times in the state, but each time Jordan District has built it, it has been modified or tweaked for the needs of the school or the property. It was designed by VCBO Architecture and is being constructed by Hughes General Contractor.

The school at 11189 South Willow Walk Dr. can house 850 elementary students or, with portable classrooms, up to 1,050.

“We’re expecting 550 students when we start, but with the way the neighborhood is growing, it may double that within five years,” Williams said.

The school will serve kindergartners through sixth graders in the neighborhood on a traditional nine-month schedule as well as house a preschool that will be in the front of the building. 

“The boundaries have yet to be determined, but we’d likely help ease the numbers at Bastian and maybe some from Golden Fields,” she said.

There also is new housing being built in the area, with the view outside of her office window looking different every time when she has visited. It also has a view of Kennecott’s copper mine, a place where her dad would drop off coal in a truck and she’d ride along as a girl.

Her office is part of the main office, which also includes a conference room and is located near the front door, which has a security entrance, and faces the west. Buses will be able to pull up to the north side to drop off and pick up students.

Those students will study in 33 classrooms in three wings and two collaborative areas in its 75,255 square feet.  Each wing will have a bright color highlighting its grades—orange, purple, teal—and each grade level will have three teachers. All the classrooms will be wired with state-of-the-art technology.

In the center of the school is the library, which features a pencil as its focal point. Nearby is the multi-purpose room that will serve as both the lunchroom and have a stage for assemblies and performances. Skylights, as well as windows, will allow natural lighting in the school.

The March 11, 2020, groundbreaking of the new elementary school was one of the last public acts of Jordan School District before it closed its doors on March 13 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic last spring.

“We have huge South Jordan growth, and by building this elementary school, we can stay ahead of the growing population and provide our students with a great learning environment,” Godfrey said.

Former Jordan Board of Education President Bryce Dunford said at the time that the 12 acres the elementary school sits on is just one of three parcels of land the district purchased in April 2019 in anticipation of building upcoming schools. All are within one-half mile of Aspen Elementary.

Dunford said one of the parcels, a100-acre site, will likely be home to an anticipated middle and high school, which may help with student growth expected at Copper Hills and Herriman high schools and Sunset Ridge and West Hills middle schools. No timeline for those schools was discussed at that time.