Less than a year ago, a damp day washed out Draper Park Middle School’s groundbreaking plans, but not a rain cloud was in sight Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, as parents, teachers, students and patrons gathered in the evening sun to celebrate the new school’s completion.
Members of the Canyons District Board of Education, Draper City Council, Unified Fire Authority, Draper Mayor Darrell Smith, Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, and other local leaders attended the ribbon-cutting event to show their support of the first public middle school built in Draper.
The school itself was built in an astonishing 11 months, but residents in the area have been waiting decades for a middle school, Canyons District Board of Education President Sherril Taylor told the crowd of about 500 people who came to celebrate the historic day.
“You may remember that this land was purchased in 1994 for the purpose of building a middle school in Draper,” Taylor said. “Now, 19 years later, Canyons District is proud to celebrate that a brand new public middle school will be opening its doors in this town for the first time.”
Construction on Draper Park Middle, 13133 S. 1300 East, which is replacing the old Crescent View Middle School building in Sandy, began after voters approved a $250 million bond in 2010 to rebuild or renovate the District’s aging schools.
Draper Park Middle, which was designed by VCBO Architecture and built by Hogan and Associates Construction, has a similar design as the newly renovated Butler Middle School, which was celebrated at a separate ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.
The design for Draper Park was adapted to fit the community’s needs, Interim Superintendent Dr. Ginger Rhode told the audience. The school has some unique features, such as a 700-seat state-of-the-art auditorium; an expanded cafeteria and kitchen; three academic wings that house high-tech classrooms; a gymnasium with two full courts, 12 basketball hoops, two large locker rooms and an elevated indoor running track with a special surface for running; and a fully integrated computer suite and media center with a green screen TV production studio.
Draper Park’s name is in harmony with the historical significance of the school, Smith and Draper Park PTA President Kelli Davey told the audience. The name was suggested by the School Community Council in honor of John R. Park, a prominent member of the community who taught school in Draper in the late 1800s.
Park’s reputation as a teacher attracted students from all locations in the West, Davey said, but he also had other skills and he was known to set broken arms or pull infected teeth when necessary.
“I would like to encourage the citizens of our community to follow the example of John R. Park in helping those within our community and here at our wonderful new school,” Davey said. “By serving in our community, we can show our gratitude for the opportunity to attend this new school and help our children reach their full potential.”
Students will begin attending the school on Monday, Aug. 19, 2013, on the first day of the 2013-2014 school year in Canyons District.