A crowd cheered Wednesday as volunteer Rin Harris started up a bulldozer to break ground for new athletic fields for Rowland Hall - St. Mark's School in Salt Lake City. It took years of work and an act of Congress for the school to buy the 13-acre property between Guardsman Way and the Mount Olivet cemetery. The initial plan calls for soccer fields and restrooms that will be used by both the younger students who go to school next door and older students who currently attend classes down the hill on Lincoln Street.
Richard Badenhausen, the new head of the Rowland Hall Board of Trustees says the 21-million dollar project will have a lot to offer in the years before additional buildings can be constructed.
“This magnificent setting will also give our teachers new opportunities to use outside spaces for educational programming and neighborhood residents a chance to enjoy a community garden, a vibrant green space in the midst of an urban setting," Badenhausen told the crowd gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony.
Last week, the area downhill from the VA medical center was put on the National Priority List for the Superfund program because of a plume of dry cleaning solvent that has been spreading through the neighborhood in an underground aquifer. Head of School Alan Sparrow says they've known about it all along and he's not worried at all.
“130 feet below the property and so we’ve had a lot of experts in to say it’s not of concern for us, especially with the fields," Sparrow told KUER. "If we ever put buildings in, we’ll put a liner under the buildings just to make it super-safe.”
The school's goal is to have the first phase of the project completed by November of this year.