School district master plan process closing in on the ‘Future of Learning’ in Park City

Jeff Dempsey
The Park Record
In April, students participate in an exercise to determine Park City School District's values and guiding principles for its master plan. The district's master planning consultants organized meetings and committees to determine its master plan recommendations.
Courtesy of Park City School District

The Park City School District continues to zero in on its master plan, what it calls the Future of Learning, and some of the big questions are starting to come into focus.

Superintendent Dr. Jill Gildea — who sits on the district’s master planning committee alongside Board of Education members Anne Peters and Andrew Caplan and other school officials — said from now until December, three task forces will look to provide clarity on three critical topics.

First, does the district want to offer a universal pre-kindergarten program and how should that be approached? Second, is there a preferred option for elementary and middle school grade alignment and facilities and can any of the potential configurations/options be eliminated? And third, how extensive should a renovation of Park City High School be and how should the ninth grade be integrated into the high school?

A facilities master plan conducted by GSBS Architects as part of the overall planning efforts, she said, offered several recommendations. The plan recommended instituting a hybrid approach to early learning and proposed:

• Maintaining current elementary school-based pre-kindergarten capacity at Jeremy Ranch, Trailside and Parley’s Park elementary schools, with remodels or additions as required

• Constructing an Early Learning Center on the Kearns Boulevard Campus (possibly in conjunction with McPolin Elementary)• Coordinate with community partners for potential wrap-around services for children with complex needs

The facilities master plan further calls for elementary schools to house kindergarten through fifth grades, grades six through eight to be in middle school and the high school to hold grades nine through 12. Three of the elementary schools would maintain their current locations, boundaries and class sizes with additions to Jeremy Ranch, Parley’s Park and Trailside. McPolin Elementary would be relocated on the eastern edge of the Kearns Boulevard Campus.

Gildea said the facilities master plan leaves open the possibility for either one or two middle schools to be utilized. In the case of one middle school, the plan suggests expanding Ecker Hill Middle School to include a sixth grade academy. Enrollment would likely be about 1,350 students. With two middle schools, the plan would call for enrollment of about 700 at each. A new middle school would be constructed. Ecker Hill would also be updated to better address current needs.

Continuing to have a single high school, which Gildea said the community has indicated it prefers over two, would expand enrollment at Park City High School from 1,250 to 1,850.

“Our last survey overwhelming favored moving ninth grade to the high school, but no actual decision has been made at this point by the Board of Education,” Gildea said.

The plan calls for a remodel of existing buildings and potentially a specialty facility — for STEM and other programs — that could accommodate 600 students.

Gildea said it is still too early to say how grades will be aligned or how many new campuses will be built, if any. Results from a community survey that closed Oct. 13 were set to be presented to the Board of Education on Tuesday.

“They are not scientific results but simply another way for the community to provide feedback for the board,” she said.

The planning committee and the newly formed task forces will continue to work on the master planning priorities, Gildea said, and will present to the Board of Education at its meeting Dec. 17 at 4 p.m. at the district office, 2270 Kearns Blvd.

To read more about the district’s master planning process, visit


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