Park City Day School expansion approved | ParkRecord.com

Park City Day School expansion approved

When Park City Day School students return for classes this fall, they may be greeted by a bigger building with more classrooms and specialized labs.

The school recently received approval from the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission for a 5,500 square-foot addition to one of the two existing buildings on campus. The addition to the east side of the main building, which houses students between preschool and fourth grade, will accommodate six classrooms, restroom facilities and other associated areas.

The Planning Commission approved the conditional-use permit for the school, located at 3120 Pinebrook Road, on April 28 following a public hearing. Ground breaking on the project is slated for sometime this summer, while the project is expected to be complete during the 2015-2016 school year.

Doug Clyde, a land planner and consultant who appeared on behalf of Park City Day School at the hearing, said the school’s expansion will result in a "quantitative improvement to the existing facilities."

"Demand is always growing and expectations of quality are always increasing," Clyde said of the need for the expansion.

The Park City Day School serves students in preschool through eighth grade. The campus encompasses two buildings, one for elementary-school students and the other for middle- school students, although fifth-grade classrooms are currently located in this building.

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Tess Miner-Farra, the assistant head of schools, said the expansion will allow Park City Day School to bring the fifth grade classrooms back into the elementary building. Additionally, Miner-Farra said it will enable the school to complete its plans of expanding to two classrooms per grade.

According to a Summit County Planning Department staff report prepared in anticipation of the hearing, the school’s attendance has increased at a rate of approximately three students per year since 2011, with approximately 199 students currently enrolled. The report went on to state that growth is expected to "continue at that rate until a maximum of 20 more students is reached."

"Our enrollment continues to grow and we are seeking to be a school of two classes per grade," Miner-Farra said. "We have been incrementally growing our grade levels one at a time, but we are at the place where in order to continue that growth we need additional space."

The current proposal seeks to expand the main building into the area adjacent to the east side of the building. Although the future uses intended for the six classrooms is undecided, it could include a Spanish language class or multi-use room.

"We want to see what the space looks like first, but it will be designed to provide some flexibility, with one of the key features being fill-out space," she said.

Miner-Farra said the current design would allow for double doors in four major classrooms to allow students to spill out into common spaces to work together between classrooms. The average class size is 14 students, but Miner-Farra said one of the schools goals is to take advantage of larger social groups.

In 2011, the Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for a 10,000-square-foot expansion to the lower school, where the playing fields and one of the playgrounds are currently located. At the time, the campus only included one building. The proposed expansion would have accommodated 60 additional students, but was never built and the permit expired.

A change in the school’s administration put a hold on that project, Miner-Farra said, as did the acquisition of what is now the middle school building in the adjacent lot. The purchase of that building added the 10,000 square feet that was originally requested, she added.

But as attendance continues to grow, the addition is the logical next step in achieving the school’s long-term goals of a "two classroom per grade" school, Miner-Farra said.

"We just love to keep growing," she said. "And we hope to continue to grow and provide the breadth and depth of education we want to offer our students and families because the demand is there."

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