Wasatch County breaks ground for second high school
“Bursting at the seams.” That’s how Wasatch County School District Superintendent Paul Sweat described the current situation at Wasatch High School. He and other Heber Valley community leaders broke ground for a second high school in the county.
A group of fifth graders from Midway Elementary joined in Tuesday’s groundbreaking. They are expected to be a part of the new high school’s very first class of incoming freshmen.
Wasatch County School District Board President Tom Hansen reminded them this new high school – located on Midway Lane across from Southfield Park in Heber – will be the setting of some very important moments in their lives.
“Think about the first opportunities that you'll have: First day of school, first assembly, first dance, maybe the first kiss," he said.
(The fifth graders responded with a resounding "Ewwww!”)
One of those students, Kenna Crane, said her class will be better served by the smaller class sizes made possible by having two schools.
“Kids at Wasatch High School do not get individually recognized in a large class, so kids with learning challenges do not get the help they deserve," she told the crowd. "The new high school will have kids split into smaller classes between Wasatch High School and itself. So kids will be recognized individually.”
School district board member Marianne B. Allen told KPCW the teachers and administrators at Wasatch High were “rockstars” for the amount of work they’ve put in for their students. But she said this second high school will provide greater opportunities for students to feel like they’re a part of a community.
“We have plenty of students," she said. "We’re just over 2,600 students at our high school currently, and we're projected to be close to 3,200 students when this second high school opens, so it is very needed.”
Despite that need, Hansen said the path to Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony presented challenges.
“Everybody here has had to have perseverance," he said to the crowd. "Perseverance to find a piece of property in this valley to be able to build a high school; perseverance to come together after a failed bond and continue to find a solution.”
Last July, the cost to build the new school was pegged at $160 million. The majority of funding will come from lease revenue bonds, which don’t require voter approval. In 2019, voters rejected a $150 million general obligation bond to fund the high school.
Hansen said community leaders have shown “grit” in reaching a solution. And the students from Midway Elementary showed a determination to match that grit once the doors of this high school are finally open.
Midway Elementary Wranglers show "LEADERSHIP, COURAGE, GRIT AND PRIDE!” they chanted.
The new high school is expected to open in the fall of 2026.