LOCAL NEWS

New Saratoga Springs Middle School Building Will Not Be Ready For First Day Of School

Aug 14, 2019, 11:01 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – The first day of school is August 20 for students at Lake Mountain Middle School in Saratoga Springs. The only problem is, the school isn’t finished.

“Very unexpected,” said Melissa Heinzig. Her daughter Katie is entering the 9th grade and called the delay “stupid”.

Katie and the rest of the school’s population will have to wait three extra weeks before they can enjoy the new school.

“I think it’s going to be really nice. It was really crowded at Vista,” Katie said, referring to Vista Heights Middle School which is about two miles away from the new one.

“We thought we were on track to have it ready,” said Kimberly Bird, spokesperson for Alpine School District. “Nothing is convenient when you have to change up how we normally do school.”

Bird says other projects in the area delayed construction on the school by four months. Officials expected to be able to make up the lost time but a very wet winter and spring prevented that and pushed the opening date for students to September 10.

“When they started talking about ways to fix it, everyone was pretty upset,” Heinzig said.

In an email to parents, Principal Mark Whitaker said they explored several options but ultimately decided on a blended learning model that will start on the first day of school.

“Everyone is doing their part to get us through the first three weeks of school without having to extend the school year or lengthen the school day to make up the time,” Bird said.

The temporary model combines online instruction, using the online learning platform Canvas, and face-to-face opportunities with teachers.

Students will have the option to meet with teachers in the trailers on the campus of Vista Heights Middle School.

“I think it’s honestly the best they could do with what they have to work with,” Heinzig said.

Heinzig can work from home, but she says other families with two working parents have concerns about transportation, lunch and getting their kids to do their school work at home.

“Because if their kid is struggling to be self-motivated, how do they convince them to stay at home and work?”

The district says transportation will be provided for those who need it. Other schools have opened their doors to provide school meals for students who rely on school lunch. And the district says Principal Whitaker has responded to each and every email from a parent, all in preparation for the start of a new school year and a nearly new school.

“After reading those emails and seeing how much the principal and the workers at the school have thought about this…You can tell that he really cares. You can tell that they care about the kids,” Heinzig said.

“Everybody’s had to give a little in this,” Bird said. “But they’re getting a beautiful, wonderful building.”

There will be an open house on Monday for parents and students to address additional concerns and questions.

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