Generations bid farewell to Spring Lane Elementary School at open houseJun 02, 2023 11:19AM ● By Heather Lawrence
The Carpenter family was nostalgic walking through the school at Spring Lane’s farewell open house. L to R: Zeland, Xerafina, Zenli and Sisa Carpenter. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
Walking through the halls of Spring Lane Elementary on May 11 was surreal for the Carpenter family. Siblings Zeland, Xerafina and Zenli loved their time as students there. They came to the farewell open house with their mom to see the school one last time before it closed at the end of the school year.
“It’s sad that it’s getting torn down. It’s weird to come back here and walk through the halls and smell the smells. It seems so small now. When you’re in elementary school, all you really know is your own school, and it seems so big,” said Zeland, who is a student at Cottonwood High.
Zeland’s mom Sisa Carpenter was nostalgic, too. “We like how this school is tucked back inside a neighborhood and not right off a freeway. It feels like it’s surrounded by homes and is being hugged by the neighborhood,” Carpenter said.
Granite District decided to close Spring Lane along with Millcreek and Twin Peaks after several population studies and rounds of town hall meetings. Most of Spring Lane’s students will now be in Oakwood’s boundaries. It’s been an emotional decision for the community.
Carpenter’s daughter Xerafina has only been out of Spring Lane a couple years, so the memories are still fresh.
“I have a lot of memories of the computer lab for some reason. It’s a special place to me. And I loved going to the library. The librarian had a very mesmerizing voice, and I remember sitting there and listening to stories,” Xerafina said.
The library was a favorite stop for lots of people. Vassi Maritsas is the librarian at Spring Lane. At the open house she reminisced with her sister Tia Athens and other friends and colleagues.
“It’s a special place for me. I call the books ‘my babies,’” Maritsas said. Maritsas and Athens both attended Spring Lane—which was originally known as Meadow Moor—as students, and then came back to work there.
“There are a lot of people whose families came here for two or more generations,” Maritsas said. Her daughter also attended Spring Lane.
Amy Calara of Sugar House hadn’t been back since she finished elementary school in 1993. She was surprised at how tactile and visual the memories were for her as she walked the halls and took pictures.
“I remember running my hands along these smooth green tiles whenever I walked down the hallway. It’s very surreal to see it in person again. The seats are so small and short!”
Calara remembered learning about history in fun ways, like the 50’s dance where the girls all wore poodle skirts, and a unit about the Middle Ages where the boys dressed as knights and had to be “very chivalrous” to the girls.
Calara remembered all her teachers’ names. She loved the atria where ducklings come each spring and where she helped plant things in the garden.
Over in the gym, current principal Kip Carlsen and his band, The Superintendents of Rock, played live music while people wandered the school, shared memories and ran into old friends.
This was Carlsen’s only year as principal at Spring Lane, but it was an eventful one. Granite District spent the fall introducing ideas about possible school closures. Since then, Carlsen has fielded questions and comments—some very passionate—from the community.
“We knew they were doing population studies, but all of the proposals about the possible closure and then the final decision were done at the district level. We got the news the same time as the rest of the community,” Carlsen said.
Carlsen will go to Fox Hills Elementary this fall. But until then, helping the student body transition to Oakwood has been his focus. The PTA and community meetings for Oakwood and Spring Lane have been combined since January.
“I’ve worked closely with Eric Bailey (the principal at Oakwood) since we found out that Spring Lane would close. We’re trying to make the transition as smooth as possible and help our students all feel like Oakwood is their school,” Carlsen said.
Even those not currently in the school have noticed the effort to merge the two schools. “My kids are all done with Spring Lane, but I stay in touch with the community and the Facebook page. It looks like they’ve been combining their PTA and activities,” Carpenter said.
The school district plans to retain the land, but the school itself will likely be torn down. It will be hard for those in the neighborhood to drive by and not see it anymore.
“We’ve loved it here,” Carpenter said. “It’s a great community and it will be missed.” λ