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Growing Pains Are a Small Price to Pay For Better Park City Schools

It looks like Park City School District will be undergoing some pretty serious changes in the near future. Park City has grown over the years, and the larger class sizes, along with various other problems in the district, are prompting a grade realignment and construction. All-day kindergarten will be added to the elementary schools in the fall of 2016. The other changes being proposed include a new school for 5th and 6th graders on the Ecker Hill campus, tearing down Treasure Mountain Junior High, and adding a 9th grade wing onto the existing high school at Kearns, all by the fall of 2017. So far, I think the drafts for the realignment are looking good and will address the district’s current and future problems. However, all growth comes with a few growing pains, and Parkites may just have to deal with some temporary uncomfortableness to get the end result.

For those living in town, the new layout means that fifth graders will have to take a longer bus ride to get to the Ecker campus than they would to get to their local elementary school. At the master planning community meeting on July 6th, it was reported that some parents are concerned about their fifth graders riding the bus longer. I personally find this to be a small sacrifice to make. Students currently take the bus to Ecker starting in sixth grade, so they’ll just have to make the adjustment one year earlier. In a spread out town like Park City, you just can’t be close to everything. People living in Park Meadows and nearby neighborhoods may not be close to Ecker Hill, but they are close to plenty of other important locations. Students in Jeremy Ranch, Pinebrook, and Summit Park, who aren’t close to anything, know all about long bus rides.

According to documents presented at the July 6th meeting, it looks like all-day kindergarten will be implemented before the 5th/6th school is completed. So where would the fifth graders go? Mostly likely, portable classrooms will be needed. It’s unclear to me whether portables will be used at the high school while the ninth grade wing is being added, but it may be a possibility as well. Obviously, no one wants to be in portables, but it’s something that just has to be dealt with. A year or so of portable classrooms is worth it if you can attend a brand new school the year after. Besides, many other schools around the country use portables on a more long-term basis. If they can do it long term, we can stick it out short term.

Unfortunately, the class of 2017, myself included, will be stuck with the short straw. We’ll be around for the construction, but we’ll have graduated by the time the new facilities are completed. And where exactly will we graduate? The new ninth grade wing will most likely be located where Dozier Field currently is, and the new field may not be completed in time for our graduation. It means a lot to us to be able to graduate somewhere that holds high school memories, and it’s disappointing that we’ll never see any benefits from the renovations. We may not like it, but as long as graduation isn’t held in Salt Lake City, I think we’ll be okay.

I really think the plans for the district-wide renovations look great. We’ll all just have to make a few small sacrifices to get to the final result. You have to give a little, to gain a lot. (Sorry class of 2017.)


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