Groundbreaking Begins on New Alta View ElementaryJun 13, 2016 08:24AM ● By Julie Slama
Alta View current and future students take their turns shoveling dirt at the April 19 groundbreaking of the new school, which is expected to open in two years. — Robyn Curtis
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
It was 1964 when Clark and Penny Steed moved into the Alta View Elementary neighborhood. Four Steed kids attended Alta View, Clark Steed volunteered several years with the school’s chess program and Penny Steed has worked most of her 40 years at the school as a literacy specialist.
“There’s been very few structural changes to Alta View — until now,” Penny said. “I don’t have many complaints about the school other than the heat seems to always work. They put in coolers, but they only are in the halls so many of the children’s classrooms aren’t cooled off.”
Major changes are in store for the 53-year-old elementary. On April 19, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to start work on the 83,000-square-foot two-story building, which will be built on the field just east of the current school. Completion is estimated for two years and it is being built with funds from a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010.
Third-grader Nathaniel Radke, who was at the ceremony along with his kindergarten-age brother, Christopher, said he hopes when the school is done, fifth grade will be upstairs, as he will be a fifth-grader.
“It would be cool to be in a class on the top floor and I hope there’s lots and lots of new computers in the new school,” he said. “I hope the water in my room won’t smell like it does now and that the heater works right.”
Principal architect Philip Wentworth, with Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects, said that with the new design and special features, every room will have a heat pump with all the controls that will operate an efficient boiler-cooler system.
The design includes 24 classrooms and four rooms designed for its brain boosters program, all equipped with the ability to have computers in the classrooms as well as voice-amplification equipment for teachers. A grand staircase will lead upstairs to the media center and computer lab. Both upstairs and downstairs will have kivas for cooperative learning or smaller class performances.
“It’s unique for the school district to have a two-story elementary school,” Wentworth said. “The design calls for as much natural light and sky lights as possible.”
A security door will be placed at the entrance of the school and a bus and carpool drop-off is included as many students come to the Spanish dual immersion school.
Although not decided yet, there is discussion of naming rooms after Utah geographic sites so students will learn more about the state’s natural features.
The new school also will feature a multipurpose room with a large stage with a security door that locks the rest of the school so the community and White City can use this room as a gathering place.
“I’m so enthusiastic for our students to have a facility to learn in,” Alta View teacher Grace McShinksky said. “This change will be a community builder and the school will always be better with more community involved.”
Penny agrees: “Everyone in the education field is looking for better ways of teaching, trying new methods, offering incentives for families and children to read at home. We’re all here to support the students. Education now exceeds what it was — that’s the biggest changes I’ve seen at Alta View.”
PTA President Pam Brooks, who attended the building planning meetings, said that not only did the current school need improved systems, but the new structure will also be safer and asbestos-free.
“It’s definitely going to be a change for the students and the community, with a chance for the interaction both in the multipurpose room as well as on the playground and possibly, a walking trail around it,” she said.
Nathaniel also hoped for that.
“I hope they made sure we had more space to play outside so we can play all sorts of games and climb on the playground equipment,” he said.
Superintendent Jim Briscoe said that when this was put into action, the Board of Education put students first.
“Our most important dignitaries are the Alta View Roadrunners,” he said.