A former LDS meeting house adjacent to Whittier Elementary School will house a number of the school's programs.
The old Hunter Ward building was renovated by Granite School District after the church declared it surplus property and arranged a property exchange with the school district. The district exchanged excess acreage at Hillside Elementary, 4283 S. 60th West, for the church property."It is a solid building. There are no structural problems," said Carl Christiansen, district property manager.
Whittier Principal Ted Williams has plans for the building even as the renovation work is being completed. Two morning and afternoon kindergarten classes already are meeting there.
The old church cultural hall will be a multipurpose room for the school's 840 students. The chapel has been divided for kindergarten classrooms and the kitchen contains the Teen Mothers program, which utilizes the kitchen equipment for home economics classes.
Upstairs, offices are being created, along with space for special education for children 3-5 years old. The location will bring together several aspects of the special education program that were scattered across the valley, said Joan Proctor, teacher in the preschool program. The federal government recently mandated education programs for children 3-5 under the auspices of local school districts.
An alley that separated the church and school has been closed and eventually will be absorbed into the playground area.
The old church building is on the National Register of Historical Sites.