Skip to main content

South Valley Riverton Journal

Summit Academy Opens New Campus in Bluffdale

Aug 22, 2016 04:15PM ● By Tori La Rue

Summit Academy opened the doors to their newest facility for the Aug. 2016–17 school year. –Jenny Burges

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]
Luke Howells, 11, joined dozens of community members at the ribbon cutting of the new K–6 Summit Academy campus in Bluffdale on Aug.15.
“I’m really excited to see it for the first time,” Luke said, adding that the 2016–17 school year will be his first time attending public school. “It looks like a mansion.”
After years of home-school, Rachel Howells, Luke’s mother, said she enrolled her children in the academy because the school’s mission “just felt right.”
The charter school offers small class sizes with a ratio of 13 students to one teacher, classroom rotations for students in all grades and a STEM focus, making it different than neighboring schools in the Jordan and Canyons School districts, according to Odila Conica, Bluffdale campus principal. The first K–6 Summit Academy location opened in Draper in 2004 and later expanded to include junior high. A high school and another K–8 campus opened in Bluffdale in subsequent years.
“There was a need for another school like this in Bluffdale after our Bluffdale Independence Campus filled up in one year,” Conica said. “Summit Academy really works for the Bluffdale and Draper communities because these cities really value children’s safety and education, and that’s what we are about.”
Summit Academy purchased the land at 14942 South 560 West for the Bluffdale campus from the Jordan School District. Each square foot of the new school cost $120, including property acquisition, design, engineering and the building itself.
“They’ve been really great at making a high-quality product at a reasonable price for our taxpayers,” Bluffdale Mayor Derk Timothy said.
The campus is 62,355 square feet, includes 28 classrooms and will house 586 students in grades K–6 for this year, but it will expand to seventh and eighth grade in the following school years.
Timothy, other Bluffdale city officials, The Southwest Chamber of Commerce and Summit Academy administration cut the green ceremonial ribbon in front of the school’s main doors, and parents and children filed in through the double doors to locate their classrooms and meet their teachers.
Shannon Warmick was excited to find out that her 9-year-old daughter would have a locker. The convenient location of the school led her to switch her two children from their traditional public schools to Summit Academy. After seeing the size of the auditorium and classrooms, Warmick said she felt it was a wise decision to transfer schools.
Along with traditional classrooms, the school’s design also includes smaller “breakout” rooms, intended to be used when classes break into smaller groups for projects and discussions. This is one of Executive Director Steve Crandall’s favorite features of the school, along with the gym, he said.
The new mascot logo, created by Celeste Joos, is printed on the centerline of the gym. Joos, a Summit Academy graduate, designed the logo and came back for the ribbon cutting, saying it was an incredible experience to see her design put to use.
Brooke Gatti took a picture of her three children as they sat on the logo, which features a Bison and the school’s name in maroon, white, navy blue and gray. Her children previously attended the Summit Academy Independence Campus but decided to switch to the newer school for the 2016–17 year.
Noah Gatti, 9, and his sister Grace, 5, held hands as they ran up the stairs to the second level of the school, leaving their mom walking behind them.
“They’re just really excited to be here,” Brooke said.