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Heber planning commission recommends approval for new day care

Adobe Stock

A new day care for Heber families, School House Academy, is now one step closer to construction.

The Heber City Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night, March 26, to recommend approval for School House Academy’s development agreement.

School House Academy is a commercial day care slated for construction at 700 School House Way, across the street from Rocky Mountain Middle School and Heber Valley Elementary.

It’s being built in a residential zone, which usually limits day cares to in-home childcare, or about eight children. But School House Academy’s plans for higher capacity got the green light from commissioners, who say the location will be convenient for families in the Heber Valley.

“I think it’s right place, right time,” commissioner Darek Slagowski said. “And I like that it’s close to two other schools, so it can be convenient for parents to be able to drop off their kids to grade school, middle school and pre-K…. It’s kind of like one-stop education.”

The building will have space for about 84 children.

Piper Riddle, the director of School House Academy, said her goal is to make day care accessible to more families.

“The good thing about licensed child care in Utah is that it is well-regulated,” she told the planning commission. “So that assurance of providing a safe environment for children and for people coming in and out of the facility would be guaranteed.”

School House Academy’s services will include day care for children under five, preschool and after-school programs for older students. Riddle’s team plans to have the building ready by fall 2024.

School House Academy envisions expanding capacity further with a second building near the first in 2026.

Day care access is a perennial problem for Utah families: advocacy organization Voices for Utah Children estimates just 14% of child care needs are met in Wasatch County.

The planning commission voted unanimously to give the plans a positive recommendation. The development agreement will now go the Heber City Council for a final decision.