Construction of two additional parochial schools in the Salt Lake Valley reflects a growing trend toward private education nationwide, as parents continue to look for options that offer a values-based curriculum.

Through the gift of Sam and Aline Skaggs, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is building the 75,000-square-foot St. John the Baptist Elementary School and the 290,000-square-foot Juan Diego Catholic High School on 57 acres at 11800 S. 300 East in Draper. Construction began last August and the schools are scheduled to open in August 1999, serving students age preschool through sophomore.According to a newsletter produced by the Diocese, the elementary school will offer grades K-5 during the 1998-99 school year, housed in modular classrooms at Blessed Sacrament Parish. When the school moves to the Skaggs Center in August 1999, the center will serve all preschool through sophomores.

"Curriculums will foster the Catholic identity of students through an emphasis on the liberal arts and humanities - leading students to view their lives from a Christian perspective," the newsletter states.

Facilities and offerings at both schools will include:

- A staff of experienced priests, nuns and Catholic lay educators

- A campus ministry program, including daily religious formation, yearly retreats, prayerful liturgies and Christian service

- Modern classrooms with fully equipped science and computer labs

- State-of-the-art library and media centers

- Full athletic facilities, including three gymnasiums, five baseball diamonds, four tennis courts, weight rooms and a variety of playgrounds

- Performing arts facilities, including a 1,350-seat auditorium, dance studio, choral and band rooms and little theater

Tuition is "similar to those of other Utah Catholic schools," the newsletter states, at $2,400 per child for elementary and $4,800 per child for high school.

For information, visit the Web site at (www.utahcatholic or call Galey Colosimo at 501-7717.