PROVO Two new schools plus two busy principals combined with dozens of emotional parents and hundreds of nervous students to equal one exciting first day of school Monday in Utah County.
Student growth in parts of the Provo and Alpine school districts has warranted the opening of Lakeview Elementary School, 2899 W. 1390 North, Provo; and Hidden Hollow Elementary School, 2546 E. Pony Express Parkway, Eagle Mountain.
While administrators are thrilled with their new digs and parents are ecstatic to have a neighborhood school, a few students at Lakeview Elementary were too nervous to be overly impressed Monday by the fresh paint, new-carpet smell or abundant natural light of their school building.
One second-grade girl, in a pink shirt and blond ponytails, stubbornly stood in the hallway, reluctant to enter her new teacher's domain, lingering way past the 8:30 a.m. bell.
"You have to go to school sometime," her mother said, pulling her by the hand into the classroom.
Next door, second-grade teacher Lisa Fausett got the kids settled so that they were sitting cross-legged on the floor while she gave them her "get to know you" speech, including details about her kids, husband, dog, cats and hobbies such as quilting, scrapbooking and reading.
Half a dozen hands shot up. "I like to read, too." "I read a whole chapter." "We had a cat, but it died."
A total of 670 students showed up at Lakeview Monday morning. "It's been a crazy, busy morning," said the school's principal, Drew Daniels, who was trying out the school's loudspeaker for morning announcements.
School also started Monday for the Garfield, Beaver and Millard school districts.
Most other districts will begin classes this week and next, according to their school calendars. Some districts begin earlier than others, depending on their holiday and break schedules, as well as the desire to have school end before Memorial Day or in early June.
Lakeview Elementary is a $10 million, one-story, 74,000-square-foot structure with a capacity for 800 students. Kids are feeding into the new school from Amelia Earhart, Grandview and Westridge elementary schools.
Hidden Hollow Elementary cost approximately $12 million, is two stories, 79,882 square feet and has a capacity of 1,000 students. On Monday, 830 kids showed up for class. Students are feeding into the new school from Harvest and Pony Express elementary schools.
Administrators at both schools are still working out glitches such as the need for more bike racks.
Hidden Hollow principal Tom Tillman said they will be revamping the lunch schedules to avoid Monday's long lines. And the school will get its copy machines soon but in the meantime is relying on neighbor Pony Express Elementary for help.
"We'll have a more efficient day Tuesday," Tillman said.
Lakeview parents are still concerned about kids crossing the road at 1390 North and Geneva Road. The Utah Department of Transportation is continuing with traffic studies to see if a traffic light is warranted at the site.
"It's a huge deal to us," said Renae Golding as she walked her two children, Elizabeth and Samuel, and dog Snickers across Geneva Road, with the help of crossing guard Bruce Clark, 76.
Yellow school-zone lights on the east and west sides of the 45-mile-per-hour Geneva Road give motorists an early warning to slow to 20 miles per hour. Two plastic neon-green child-size figures holding neon-orange flags on either side of the road draw attention to the crosswalk.Both new elementary schools were funded through bond money. Alpine voters in November 2006 authorized the district to issue $230 million in bonds. The Provo district's $35 million bond referendum was approved by voters in June 2006.
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