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History of South Valley

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 Rd. and 8400 S. Marv had previously served on the Jordan School District Board 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. SVE contracted to package for National Semiconductor Company, which was the first of many such contracts. Thousands of calculators were packaged. The clients becoming contributing partners with industry.

Principals changed in 1977 with Arland Russon replacing John Gardner. Russon served as Principal until 1978. Al Zylstra became Principal in 1978 and remained at SVE until 1987. In the early 1980's a greenhouse was constructed and students were taught horticultural skills. At that time a large kiln was also purchased and a ceramic program began. Clients made various ceramic pieces and sold them at SVE.

By 1985 the school had been remodeled and expanded many times. Daily deliveries were required to keep up with the expanding work force. Thousands of deer bags were being packaged each month. Three large electric knitting machines ran daily to produce the bags. Many other products were assembled and packaged.

The number of program participants grew quickly, by 1985 the school was serving approximately 60 adults and 40 part time students. That year the Jordan School District determined that it could no longer provide services to adults over the age of 22 years. South Valley Training Company was established at that time to serve this adult population. South Valley Enterprise (SVE) officially became South Valley School (SVS) with a staff of 10 full time employees. The area which had housed the sheltered work shop was remodeled into classrooms.

The wood shop program had grown tremendously. Furniture was being made for Jordan District offices and schools, and for other local businesses. Thousands of survey stakes were being made for local utility companies. The wood shop also had students winding coils of varying sizes for a local electric motor company. This work was very tedious and hard on the fingers, but the students were compensated well and realized growth as part of a production crew.

Throughout the years South Valley School has done work for dozens of different companies such as Apple Computers, The Wood House, Blaine Hudson Printing, Moore Company and many others. These companies found our students able to do quality work at competitive prices.

In 1985 several staff members were assigned to set up job sites in the community. Employing students in the community became a priority. Job sites were set up at Smiths Food King, Fred Meyer, National Semiconductor, Ballard Medical and Godfathers Pizza to mention only a few.  Presently, our students work at 15 different community businesses including our very own Jordan School District locations.

Mark Riding became Principal in 1987. During his tenure, which ended in 1995, portable classrooms were added to accommodate the schools growth. In 1995 Karen Medlin became the principal and remained until 1998. Scott Thomas began as principal in June of 1998 and continued until February of 2007.

In 2001, after looking at many different options related to South Valley School's growth, the Jordan School District purchased the remainder of Marv Jenson's property that was immediately to the south and west of the school. This property had once housed mink pens, well known vegetable gardens, a garage and an outdoor boxing arena. Mr. Jenson felt there could be no better use for the property than to house a brand new South Valley School and construction began on April 29, 2002. Classes continued in the old school and in the portables until the new school was ready for use. During the construction South Valley employees were shuttled from behind the West Jordan City Hall to the school and back each day. The Marv Jenson gym and the original South Valley School were leveled June 9, 2003. The portable units were moved to other district locations shortly thereafter.

In August of 2003 students and staff moved into the new school. It is a beautiful facility with 10 classrooms for full time students.  A new Life Design Class was started in 2003. Students in this program check in with their teacher on a regular basis, but most of their time is spent in the community, working and volunteering. Students also work on attaining enough credits to receive a High School diploma from Southpointe Adult High.  This program greatly aides students as they transition from the school to the community.

In February 2007 Cindy Lou Williams-Mitchell began to direct South Valley School as the Principal. Cindy retired in June 2019, and Rita Bouillon began as Principal of South Valley School.

The year 2020 found the Greenhouse in need of many repairs, and unfortunately these were too costly to continue operating.  The Greenhouse at South Valley School closed in June 2020.  Our Greenhouse program for part-time secondary education students was moved at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year and continues at the Jordan School District's JATC South campus, located at 12723 S. Park Avenue in Riverton.

Students and staff are excited to be a part of such a wonderful school and the students we serve. Our alumni continues to grow, and we are grateful to have served so many students over the years.  Currently South Valley School has 156 full time and 21 part time students. The staff at South Valley School now consists of 65 members.

A large case with memorabilia from our history is proudly displayed in the main hall of the school.  There are pictures of Marv Jenson and Gene Fullmer, along with other artifacts from our school history.