SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Feb. 5) - The five members of the U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Ski Team were on hand Thursday to help break ground on a new project at Soldier Hollow, site of the 2002 Olympic Winter games. The Soldier Hollow Charter School and Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation have partnered together to design three new multi purpose buildings for the Olympic venue.
"The Soldier Hollow Olympic legacy is alive and thriving," said Soldier Hollow chief Howard Peterson.
Nearly a hundred school children and parents were on hand as World Champions Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), joined teammates Brett Camerota (Park City, UT) and first-time Olympian Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) in using their ski tips to break the snow near the site of the new buildings.
For most of the year, the Charter School will be utilizing the buildings for eight spacious, new classrooms and 14 restrooms. Soundproof partitions will allow the buildings to open up for assemblies and special events.
The added infrastructure will also significantly enhance the many public events held at Soldier Hollow year around, including major ski racing competitions such as the 2012 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Junior Olympics, and will support Soldier Hollow's ability to provide for the expansion of public outdoor recreation opportunities (such as high school cross country running meets).
One of the three buildings will be placed adjacent to the existing ski racing finish line with a 70' x 15' deck facing the finish, and will contain ten toilets as well as a kitchenette area for race crew meals.
Soldier Hollow Charter School is a free, public school serving students grades K-8, with 208 students currently enrolled at Soldier Hollow. 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. While still quite young, two school alumni - Aren Burkemo and Tristin Lowe - are very competitive at the national level in Junior Olympics.
The Olympic Team is in Utah for a final pre-Olympic tune-up before heading to Vancouver on Monday.
"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."