As a crowd of supporters braved high winds and the threat of rain, the Wasatch County School District (WCSD) Board of Education held a successful groundbreaking ceremony for the Valley’s second high school on Tuesday, May 23.
Acting as Master of Ceremonies, WCSD Director of Operations & HR Shawn Kelly let the event, which included speeches, a performance by the Heber Valley Elementary Eagle Choir and an opening presentation of the colors by Wasatch High School AFJROTC members.
Those in attendance included Midway Elementary School’s 5th Grade Student Council members, the Heber Valley Elementary Eagle Choir, staff, teachers, administrators, parents and community members. Elected officials included: Heber City Council Members Yvonne Barney, Mike Johnston and Scott Phillips; Wasatch County Undersheriff Josh Probst and Wasatch County Sheriff Jared Rigby; and Wasatch County Council Members Luke Searle, Mark Nelson and Kendall Crittenden.
Superintendent Paul Sweat opened the ceremony with a nod to the very first day of high school in Wasatch County 115 years ago when Wasatch High opened on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1908, with three instructors and 60 students. Today, there are nearly 2,600 students enrolled in Wasatch High School, with a projected Districtwide student enrollment in grades 9-12 of 3,231 by fall of 2023 when the new high school is slated to open.
Supt. Sweat was followed by Midway Elementary 5th Grader Kenna Crane, who will be in the first freshman class at the new high school, and noted, “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. The new high school will have kids split into smaller classes between Wasatch High School and itself. So kids will be recognized individually.”
Curtis Livingston of CORE Architecture and Mark Peterson of Westland Construction also spoke before the Heber Valley Elementary Eagle Choir performed and WCSD Board of Education President Tom Hansen presented, noting the students in attendance would be among those who experience many of their high school “firsts” in the new building. Mr. Hansen also noted the road that led to Tuesday’s groundbreaking took grit and determination from past and current Board of Education members, including former Board Members Blaik Baird and Mark Davis, both of whom were in attendance.
“Everybody here has had to have perseverance,” said Mr. Hansen. “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.”