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McGillis School

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I have been watching with interest the major construction project at the McGillis School on 700 South and 1300 East in Salt Lake City. This is the site of the old Douglas School, and the massive expansion is just to the west of the original building. It's on schedule to be completed for the beginning of the 2010 school year.

The McGillis School was founded in 1990 as the Jewish Community Center Elementary School, a program of the Salt Lake Jewish Community Center. In 2001, the school began considering the need for independent governance. Negotiations concluded in fall 2002, and the Joanne and Richard McGillis School, named for its primary benefactors, was formed on Jan. 1, 2003.

Renovations started in Dec. 2002 to turn the historic Douglas School into the McGillis School. At that point, the Board of Trustees committed to doubling the school's size to two classes each from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Matt Culberson, Head of School, told me the latest expansion will allow the school to serve more students and provide facilities to expand curriculum and programs. The 2010 year will see the addition of two kindergarten classes and a second seventh grade class.

Joanne and Richard McGillis have been dear friends of mine for many years. They are not only great people but are also generous to the community. I was honored to be asked to serve on the McGillis School Advisory Board. This has given me the opportunity to visit the school, meet the staff and interact with the students. I have enjoyed visiting classrooms and watching the students learn and grow. And I'm already impressed with the building and its high ceilings, large windows and spacious classrooms that provide a safe and inspiring learning environment.

The McGillis School is poised to reach its 20th anniversary in a permanent, state-of-the-art facility that will ensure the school's well being for generations to come.

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