Work starts on first public middle school in Draper
Crescent View Middle School will have a different view by fall of 2013.
Work commenced on a new school building at 13133 S. 1300 East after a groundbreaking on Oct. 9.
"We were just all ecstatic that the [Canyons] Board of Education and the public would support us in this," said Greg Leavitt, principal of Crescent View. "Our teachers were really excited."
Although the new location is about four miles south of the old school, the move means crossing the boundary from Sandy to Draper. Officials say it will be a monumental change for Crescent View because almost 90 percent of the students come from Draper.
"Moving this school would move it closer to the population we serve," Leavitt said.
The new Crescent View will be the first traditional public middle school in Draper.
"There are some charter schools," Leavitt said. "We want a public school that's competing well enough that the parents have more choices."
The relocation also would make it convenient for kids to walk to school rather than ride the bus, which is currently how a majority of the students commute to school. The rigorous demand for bus service created a large cost to the school and district, according to Paul McCarty, who represents Sandy and Draper in the Canyons Board of Education. The commute also meant the kids had to take extra time to get to school.
"We need to take into consideration how much time the children are on the buses," McCarty said. "We wanted a school ideal for walking â¦ so that time delay on the bus, I hope, can now be spent in the classrooms."
Crescent View Middle School was built in 1986 with the design of an open-classroom concept, meaning the building lacked interior walls and doors to separate the classrooms. This format was popular in the '80s because it allowed one teacher to oversee a group of students, but the countereffect is noise lots of noise.
"A little while ago we found money to put walls to close up those classrooms," Leavitt said.
Those walls did not extend from floor to ceiling, so noise continued to be a problem. Like many schools built back then, Crescent View lacked windows and natural light, which displeased Leavitt and McCarty.
"My personal belief is the physical classroom learning is the second teacher to the child," McCarty said.
Leavitt said he's most excited to have a new building with an abundance of natural light to make the rooms feel bright and spacious as everyone at the current school had to put up with not just dark, but narrow, spaces.
"It's not the worst facility in the world as far as what's in the norm for middle schools right now, but the halls are small for our big crowds," Leavitt said.
One problem the students encounter is moving in a mass migration via a narrow hallway toward the cafeteria, which is at one side of the school.
"They travel in one big pack coming in different directions," Leavitt said.
The new school will have a bigger cafeteria situated out in the open so that students can come from different hallways and have the ease of good traffic flow. The idea is to build a school that features three academic wings or "houses" for each grade.
"It's a safer building," Leavitt said. "We're going to have more light in the building, more facilities to learn and classrooms that are more conducive to the academic environment."
Furthermore, technology will play a role to make teaching and learning convenient and interesting. Along with computer labs, a media center will include a green-screen TV production studio.
"Everything is hard-wired in," Leavitt said. "There'll be overhead projectors, and they're putting sound systems in every classroom."
The fund for construction comes from a $250 million bond approved by voters in the Canyons School District. This is part of an ongoing plan to renovate and build new schools in the district. Completed projects include Midvale Elementary, which received a new building, and Albion Middle, which underwent a massive renovation.
For McCarty, whose involvement with Crescent View goes back 17 years to when his oldest child attended the school and he served on a school community council, the project is especially dear to his heart.
"It has always been a special school to me," McCarty said. "When we had the opportunity to move it to a new location, that was outstanding."
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Sherril Taylor, vice president of the Canyons Board of Education, said that she'd envisioned an improved Crescent View Middle School for a long time.
"The land we're standing on was purchased in 1994 for the purpose of building a middle school in Draper," Taylor said at the groundbreaking. "And now, 18 years later, Canyons District is proud to celebrate with you the start of work on a new and improved middle school in Draper."
Leavitt said he's thankful to the district for allocating the fund to improving schools.
"There's lots of things to spend money on, and they're saying we're spending the money on you," Leavitt said. "I think we can meet the accountability of that by moving forward and by meeting academic goals."
The new Crescent View Middle School
Groundbreaking Oct. 9
School being built at 13133 S. 1300 East, Draper
Expected to open in fall 2013
First traditional public school in Draper