South Valley has been a part of Jordan School District for more than 30 years. It first existed as a sheltered workshop (which was “cutting edge” at that time) and was known as South Valley Enterprises. In 1985 South Valley School (SVS) was born, embracing a new emphasis of community integration. Our focus expands beyond the school building walls and reaches out into the community around us. This is accomplished through community access, community experiences, and community employment. We also have an interesting, historic background about our school building and the land on which South Valley School is located and the people involved.
History Of South Valley, The First 30 Years
The Program which eventually became South Valley Enterprise and then South Valley School emerged from a venture between Jordan School District and the Easter Seals Society of Utah. In 1973 they began a sheltered workshop. It was located in the old Grand Central warehouse on State Street in Murray. The program served handicapped adults residing in the southern portion of Salt Lake County.
In 1974 Jordan School District took over operation of the program. It was given the name South Valley Enterprises (SVE). It was moved to South Jordan Elementary School. SVE occupied a classroom under the gymnasium and a portable unit on the playground. The portable served as a small shop with just a handful of power tools. The classroom was a work area where some of the clients made door mats out of “factory second” fan belts. There were only 10 -15 clients, 2 teachers, a vocational coordinator, a secretary and John Gardner as the Director.
In 1975 the Jordan School District purchased Marv Jenson’s gymnasium located on Redwood Road and 8400 South. Marv had previously served on the Jordan School District Board from 1952- 1960 and served as its President for 2 of those years. South Valley Enterprises now, finally, had a home. With the new building the program began to grow. Equipment was purchased and the wood shop program began manufacturing survey stakes and pallets. Soon production branched out into other areas….
Marv Jenson – The Man, The Land, and His Endeavors
In 1937 Marvin (Marv) Jenson purchased three acres of ground at 8400 S. on Redwood Road. He and his wife Margaret hoped to develop the property into a fur breeding ranch. Marv also thought he should try his hand at training boxers. He had recently won the 1937 amateur intermountain boxing championship and his older brother Pete was already boxing professionally.
From this inconspicuous beginning proceeded an era of dedication, commitment and innovation marked by success in practically every endeavor Marv entered into. As they say in newspapers …”The rest is history.” The history of a man who’s talents, foresight, business sense and love for young people knew no bounds.
Marv Jenson’s’ mink ranch was one of the most successful in the United States and perhaps in the world. His efforts at raising quality mink consistently won him International recognition. Some of the mink he raised set standards for quality and sold for prices which were considered world records. He at one time sold a single female “Blue Sapphire” for $3,000.00. And one of Marv’s males sold for $6,000.00. Those were prices that were unheard of in the mink business until Marv Jenson came along. He raised mink on the property until about 1988 when he retired from the business……
Gene Fullmer – The Boxer
Gene Fullmer was born July 21,1931 in West Jordan, Utah. Fullmer’s trainer Marv Jenson nicknamed Fullmer’s dad “Tuff,” because of his skill with his fists. Fullmer’s mother was a fan and in fact named Gene after the heavyweight champion Gene Tunney. His two brothers Don and Jay boxed as middleweights. Two of his sons also entered the ring.
“Gene Fullmer, a 5 foot 8 inch, chiseled block of muscle and bone, used his brawler’s style to carve a significant niche in the fight world of the 1950’s and 1960’s.” John Keahey -Salt Lake Tribune 08/10/2000
“Gene Fullmer is the two-time, American born Middleweight Champion of the World. Fighting in the fifties and sixties, he posted a phenomenal record of 55 wins, 6 losses, and 3 draws. In his early years he was known for his knockout power ( 24 KO). After retiring he continued to work with the Golden Gloves Organization, as well as other programs with our State and Nations youth.” Homeofheros.com —-medal of Honor Society Awards….