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South Summit School District Plans To Be Innovative When Building New School

South Summit School District

South Summit School District is bonding for a new high school after a 2017 bonding effort failed. The district is considering some innovative designs to maximize space and offset eventual growth.

The district owns around 150 acres west of Kamas where the new high school will be built if the bond passes. Superintendent Shad Sorenson says that although not all of the property is developable, the majority of it is.

“We’ve gone through the process with hiring our consultant who’s worked with the Corp. of Engineers, but the bulk of the property is developable.” Sorenson explained, “We have all of that in place and now we’re working with the engineers to put the buildings exactly where they should be so that they’re stable and that it’s in the right place with the property. We’ve worked through that process and the Army Corp. has not signed off on where the buildings will be but they have signed off on what is permanent designated wet lands and what have been created by irrigation.”

The school will be built to hold 750 students with the possibility of wings being built on to the existing campus.

“We’ve had opportunities where we have brought in our administration and we’ve received input from the faculty on the needs from the school.” Sorenson continued, “We provide that to the architect and they start looking at square footage and what can be flexible learning space and what needs to be fixed learning space. We’re really trying to vision for the future and not build a school that was yesterdays school but build a school for 21st century learning.”

South Summit High School Assistant Principal Shad Stevens says that educators are having continuous conversations around how facilities will look in the future.

“We’re trying to consolidate.” Stevens said, “Consider our current spaces, what’s effective in regards to office space. What do we need for effective learning spaces? How big of space, where can we best utilize that? Those are daily conversations that we’re having as administration and teachers with the district office as well.”

One consideration the district has is to implement a structure that is more similar to universities, where teachers share rooms and rotate throughout the school.

“I’ve been in both types of schools where it’s more of a college campus style.” Stevens explained, “Basically, where teachers are able to rotate there’s not set rooms and as teachers are able to move around it provides that flexible space for scheduling because that’s always one of the challenges is the scheduling. It’s a very large Rubik’s cube, trying to get classes and where they need to be for our students. That’s definitely one of the considerations and options is making it more of a college style where teachers maybe have an office space separate a collaborative space where they can work together during their prep hours or downtimes and they can align their assessments and things of that nature and have a space to do that. where being in a classroom its more of an open clear environment where any class, any teacher can be in that space.”

Stevens says that of course would come with some challenges.

“It is a challenge though as you consider the resources the teachers need.” Stevens continued, “The teaching things that they have being able to move as well because basically that type of style puts all the teachers with their supplies on carts and moving. We have to consider storage space and the resources that they need for the different teaching like computer labs. Obviously, there’d be different things that could make that work and some of them couldn’t.”

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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