Move from Old Town comes with mixed emotions |

Move from Old Town comes with mixed emotions

Duna Strachan

On behalf of Soaring Wings International Montessori School, I want to thank all of Park City for the past 26 years. It is with mixed emotions that we close out this era as we prepare to move into our new school on Old Ranch Road.

In 1987 our family drove into town past Old Ranch Road and thought, "That would be a great place for a school one day." In the meantime I founded the school in my family room. One day in 1992 I ran into Myles Rademan in the video store (remember those?). He asked how the school was doing and I said I needed more space. Less than a year later we moved into the newly renovated Park City Library and Education Center in the midst of a blizzard.

We were the first to move into the building the front steps had not yet been poured but there was a fairly reassuring plywood ramp in place. The front doors had not been installed and there was a giant chain wrapped around the old doors to hold them shut. We had toilet seats to install and students ready to start and the snow would not stop. But somehow it all came together and we passed the final inspection as the families came in the door.

The school grew and so did the town. The cows no longer cross the road every morning and evening but we’ve become a self-sufficient community. And we’ve been able to maintain the small-town atmosphere that makes it special. Through the years the city has been a great landlord, stepping forward to help us out whenever we needed it. Thank you, Mayor Williams, Max Paap, as well as Alison Butz and Allen Moulton for the years of support.

In addition, Nan Chalat-Noaker and The Park Record have been constant supporters of all of our projects, getting the word out to the community on our events. Randy Barton and Leslie Thatcher have been longtime supporters at KPCW, always happy to interview students and patiently coax the information from them!

Over the past 26 years we’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most wonderful families on the planet. They are generous and supportive and never fail to brighten our days with their thoughtfulness, even decades after their children have graduated. And our students are some of the most sensitive, motivated, peaceful citizens of the Earth I have met. The future is in good hands.

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The new school is a thing of beauty, thanks to the architectural talent of Solim Gasparik, who worked to help us plan the project, designed the building as well as all the Earth-friendly components he incorporated. He and his wife Jackie are Montessori parents, so they understood what we were trying to do and made it real.

I heard the 10 O’clock Whistle last night as I was taping up the last boxes and realized how much I’ll miss spending most of my days in Old Town. Isn’t it great how some things never change here? As we say good-bye to these bare walls we take plenty of memories with us.

It is almost unbelievable that we are now moving into the "School of the Future" on Old Ranch Road that we have dreamed about for so long. There are new friends, new neighbors (fair warning we’ll be showing up on your doorsteps with cookies sometime this fall) and new memories to be made. It couldn’t have happened anywhere else but in this beautiful little park. Thank you, Park City!


Duna Strachan is the executive director of Soaring Wings International Montessori School.