Nearly 100 school children and parents were on hand as members of the U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Ski Team helped break ground on a new project at Soldier Hollow near Park City. The site of the 2002 Olympic Winter games will soon house a new and improved Soldier Hollow Charter School. "The Soldier Hollow Olympic legacy is alive and thriving," said resort chief Howard Peterson.
World Champions Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.), joined teammates Brett Camerota (Park City, Utah) and first-time Olympian Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) in using their ski tips to break the snow near the site of the three new buildings.
The Charter School will utilize eight spacious classrooms for most of the year. Soundproof partitions will allow the buildings to open up for assemblies and special events.
The added infrastructure will significantly enhance the public events held at Soldier Hollow, including major ski racing competitions such as the 2012 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Junior Olympics. They will also support Soldier Hollow's increased public outdoor recreation opportunities (such as high school cross-country running meets).
One of the three buildings will be placed next to the existing ski racing finish line with a huge deck facing the finish.
Soldier Hollow Charter School is a free, public school serving students grades K-8, with 208 students currently enrolled. The school's interest in environmental science and place-based learning attracted it to Soldier Hollow following the 2002 Olympic Games. Cross-country skiing is integrated into the school's curriculum, with students skiing 2-5 times a week.
"It meant a lot to Soldier Hollow and the entire community for our Olympians to join us for the event," said Peterson. "They are heroes to the kids here. And as you looked out on the crowd, you could just sense that there's a future Olympian or two in the group."