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School principals, city mayors tour Jordan School District

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6 2014 2:32 p.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 6 2014 2:32 p.m. MDT

Jordan School District principals enjoy touring Riverton and Bluffdale on a bus, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014.

Jordan School District

WEST JORDAN — Jordan School District administrators took a surprise field trip on Wednesday, as their annual leadership conference was paused to allow for a series of bus tours around the district led by city mayors.

The tours were designed as a way for municipal leaders to interact with educators and to provide a peek into the long-term development planning going on in the cities that make up the school district.

"We have a lot of growth and a lot of development," said Mike Anderson, Jordan's area administrator of schools. "Our administrators know this, but they may not have seen it in person and may not have had an opportunity to talk with city officials, so this is going to give us an opportunity to do such a thing."

After being separated into yellow school buses based on geographic areas — and some initial razzing of the "cool kids" who claimed the back seats — adminstrators made a pit stop at the city halls of West Jordan, South Jordan, Riverton, Herriman and Bluffdale to pick up the cities' respective mayors.

In West Jordan, Mayor Kim Rolfe thanked the educators for their work and expressed that teachers and administrators play a crucial role in the community.

Rolfe also drew applause when he said he was "tickled to death" that the district would remain intact after several months of debate over whether to divide the district.

"It means so much to me to make sure that (students) get the education, they get the learning skills they need to help them through life," he said. "That’s our entire future, and you are the spearhead — all of you."

Once on the bus, Rolfe asked the educators to visualize the city's planned City Center development, which will be located near 7800 South and Redwood Road and will connect to the city's municipal properties on the west side of Redwood via a pedestrian walkway.

"Not just a metal crosswalk," Rolfe said. "Something like what you see at City Creek."

The tour then continued past the South Valley Regional Airport toward the Mountain View Corridor, with Rolfe describing plans for future residential developments and potentially an auto mall at the western end of 9000 South.

He said city leaders often hear from businesses looking to relocate or expand into West Jordan. But he added that the success of Jordan Landing has been a Catch-22 in that the popular retail center leaves developers reluctant to locate in other areas of the city.

"Were it not for Jordan Landing, I don’t know what Jordan School District would be, and I don’t know what West Jordan would be," Rolfe said.

Dennis Edmonds, assistant principal of Copper Hills High School, said he appreciated the opportunity to tour the community with city leaders.

Edmonds said educators often are not fully aware of what is happening at the city level, and vice-versa, and events such as Wednesday's field trips are a good step toward getting city and district leaders on the same page.

"I think we all have a common goal," he said. "We all want to see the same things happen. It’s just a matter of communication sometimes."

Edmonds also said it was nice to get outside for a portion of the district's annual leadership conference.

"Typically we sit in here and it's talking heads," he said. "This is kind of nice because you get to see some of what's happening rather than just the theory."

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood

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