A different kind of charter school opens in Salt Lake County next month. Real Salt Lake Academy, a STEM high school which also serves as a training ground for future professional soccer players.
Although school starts on August 22nd, the new campus located in Herriman still needs a lot of work. Crews are working at what looks like double speed, prepping the facility for its first 300 students.
The school's director Ryan Marchant is confident it will be ready in time. He shows me around the future cafeteria, gym, classrooms.
In many respects this school is meant to feel like any other school. But, connected to the back is a massive indoor practice facility, which has dirt floor currently but will soon have two full sized soccer fields.
“It’s the largest steel-framed free standing building in North America without a pole in it," Marchant says. "It’s massive, I think they were saying you could fit six or seven 747s in here.”
The indoor field will serve as Real Salt Lake’s training ground for the Winter months, but it will also get use from the students. In particular the 50 who will be living on campus and competing in teenage professional soccer leagues.
Following a European soccer model, this academy will serve as a feeder for Real Salt Lake. Promising young talent discovered by scouts will move to the school here in Utah.
Marchant says that while these students are unique, he hopes the 250 other students from the community will help create a comfortable, relatively normal, high school environment.
At least, as normal as school can be with professional athletes practicing a few yards away.