New LDS K-12 school finds home at former car dealership; registration now open

Providence Academy has found a home at the former Legacy Blackridge Subaru-Mitsubishi building, St. George, Utah, June 30, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Providence Academy, a progressive new private school in St. George offering Christian-based curriculum centered on principles taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has found a home at the former Legacy Blackridge Subaru-Mitsubishi complex, located at 1700 S. Black Ridge Drive in St. George. Showrooms will soon be converted into classrooms at the facility, which boasts just over 29,000 square feet.

“All the kids that have walked through here, they’re all really excited about this,” Quin Denning, an administrator at Providence Academy, said.

A view overlooking St. George from the new Providence Academy, St. George, Utah, July 30, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

“We’re grateful to have a company in the building that we feel is going to do positive things for the community and the children,” building owner Jim Painter said.

With a lease now signed for the location and preparations underway for the new school year, which starts Sept. 2, Providence Academy will officially begin accepting student registrations on Thursday, and registration will continue until classes are full.

“Registrations are filling up fast,” Denning said.

Providence Academy will host a registration meeting Thursday from 2-8 p.m. at the new building, and interested parents and students can drop by, find out more about the school and register for classes. Thereafter, informational meetings will be hosted at 7 p.m. each Thursday until the semester starts for anyone desiring to learn more about Providence Academy.

“They can just walk in if they want to register their kids or find out more about the school,” Denning said. “It provides an opportunity for parents to come in and learn what we’re all about.”

Inside the expansive building, offices once used by automotive salespeople will be converted into what Denning calls “incubator offices,” where students in Providence Academy’s business classes will form and operate their own real businesses. A large, high-ceilinged circular room once used as the car dealership’s reception area will become the school’s common area, where devotionals will be held and students can eat lunch. A garage currently outfitted with repair bays is slated to become either a theater for the school’s drama department or a television studio.

A cooperative store will also be set up in one area of the school, where students can learn firsthand about the retail business, community members can shop, and Providence Academy parents can sell crafts, garden produce and other home-crafted goods to help offset tuition costs.

“It will be run like a regular store,” Denning said. “Parents will be able to sell there to help reduce their tuition.”

Providence Academy additionally offers a “trade bank,” through which parents can contribute their skills to help offset tuition fees. For instance, a professional mechanic could contribute mechanic services to the trade bank to help pay for his kids to attend school.

The car dealership’s former reception area will become a common area for Providence Academy students, St. George, Utah, July 30, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

“We’re really excited about our tuition assistance program and our business partnership program,” Denning said.

To further help parents in need of tuition assistance, Providence Academy has developed sponsorship packages that will enable community businesses to partner with the school and support its students – and as businesses help Providence Academy, the businesses will benefit, as well.

“If a business gives $100, they’ll get $150 in value back,” Denning said.

Businesses can sign up for one of five sponsorship packages ranging in price from $50 a month to $1,000 a month. In exchange for their financial support, sponsoring businesses can receive advertisements on the school’s website and partner pages, credit in the school trade bank, ads in school newsletters and on the school’s mobile app, a plaque at the school and more.

“It’s mutually beneficial for the business and for our students,” Denning said. “For any student that wants to come to our school, we want to find a way to help make that happen.”

Denning said these trade and sponsorship efforts are part of a founding principle called the “creative foundation.” There are three foundations of society, he said: the “entitlement foundation,” in which people expect someone else to provide for them; the “competitive foundation,” a dog-eat-dog existence in which people are governed by fear and a scarcity mentality; and the “creative foundation,” the highest of the foundations and “the true form of capitalism,” Denning said. The creative foundation is based on the abundance principle that creation of wealth and prosperity exists in abundance.

A view overlooking St. George from inside the new Providence Academy, St. George, Utah, July 30, 2014 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

“It’s so critical that these kids start out on the right foundation,” Denning said. “Children that go to our school will gain experience that will build a foundation for decision-making for the rest of their lives.”

Hands-on learning is also a key focus at Providence Academy. Students in the school’s real estate class, for example, will go through all the steps of purchasing, staging, marketing and selling an actual home in the area during the course of the school year. Local real estate agents, lenders, title company employees and others will lecture in the class, and then students will apply what they’ve learned in a real-world setting by performing the hands-on work. Adults in the community have even expressed interest in attending these classes, Denning said.

“When our students graduate, they will be truly prepared for the real world,” he said. “Our whole curriculum is designed so students can progress as quickly as they are able, and our graduates will be better prepared for the working world than most graduating college students.”

Providence Academy’s curriculum is based on LDS principles, but the school is not sanctioned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The student body will include both LDS members and pupils who do not belong to the LDS faith. The LDS standard works, including the Bible and the Book of Mormon, will be utilized in class, but non-LDS students attending the school have the option to follow a Bible-based curriculum individually tailored for them, Denning said. Classes will have a Christian focus, but no student will be required to study LDS literature if they don’t want to.

Providence students are also able to learn at their own pace, and another key focus at the school is advancing students according to their individual capabilities. Students will have the opportunity to concurrently enroll in online college classes if they wish to, so they can potentially graduate from college at the same time they graduate high school – or sooner, if they have the desire and capacity.

“We’re really developing leaders,” Denning said. “We’re helping students learn leadership so that they can lead themselves.”


Event details

  • What: Providence Academy registration meeting
  • Where: Providence Academy, 1700 S. Black Ridge Drive in St. George (in the former Legacy Blackridge Subaru Mitsubishi building)
  • When: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2-8 p.m.
  • Admission: Free
  • Details: Providence Academy events page435-674-5555


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  • S. Carter August 6, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Great, a new brain-washing factory in town

  • De Ke August 6, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    hope they somehow stabilized the cracking sliding hillside that caused the original owners to abandon that property. what went wrong there would make an excellent intro course in geology for the new students.

    • McMurphy August 7, 2014 at 6:40 am

      If Moses could part the Red Sea then I’m sure these folks can handle a sliding hillside.

      • The Rest Of The Story August 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm

        Why? Is Moses on the faculty?

  • Bender August 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Mormon madrassa. Shrink your child’s world.

  • Magic Underoos August 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Just when you thought the brain washing was only for Sunday, POW! Now you can make sure your kids will be even more narrow minded than you are.

    • Brian August 7, 2014 at 12:05 am

      From what school did you learn your narrow-minded bigotry? Because that instruction was very effective.

      • Tyler August 7, 2014 at 4:07 am

        I learned my narrow-minded bigotry from being Mormon. I learned to hate gays and, until 1978, black people. I learned that my religion was right and everyone else’s was wrong. The Mormon Church taught me all the bigotry I’ll ever need to know.

        • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 7, 2014 at 8:55 am

          Thank you Tyler for caring enough about us to be honest! I hope you will accept this Ghetto Pass. You have been indoctrinated into a brotherhood that only a few can enter. If you drink Kool Aid you are already a 32nd degree. Welcome! Not all Kool Aid consumers are given this opportunity. Only the true OGs. Again I welcome you! GO FALCONS!

        • DesertBill August 7, 2014 at 9:56 am

          I likewise was raised a Mormon. One of my friends was gay. (I served as one of his pallbearers.) One of my assistant coaches was a black. We got along great. The design department I worked with in a company while in San Francisco was predominately gay. It was also a good experience. I’m sorry your experience was to learn how to hate. But a lot my learning about tolerance and love was through my LDS experience.

          • What? August 7, 2014 at 10:06 am

            More like you learned tolerance when you got away from the LDS experience.

        • John Paul August 7, 2014 at 10:13 am

          Tyler, you self taught yourself bigotry.. I have been raised LDS and I guess I missed those parts about learning to hate gays, blacks, Mexicans and that ours is the only right religion. However, I did live among the Baptists in the South and I did se some of that there.. Of course being gay is the only natural way to procreate and get mad at others whose throats you try to shove your lifestyle down and call them bigots. Gays go against EVERY Christian teaching in EVERY Christian Church.. So don’t blame it just on the Mormons. You got your 15 minutes of fame, I mean shame..

          • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 7, 2014 at 11:33 am

            Maybe you should not use the term “shoving down throats” and Gays in the same paragraph. Somebody might take it out of context.

          • Tyler August 7, 2014 at 9:20 pm

            First off… gays don’t go against every Christian teaching; just most of them.

            Secondly, I got a little chuckle when you said gays shove our beliefs down your throats (not because of how phallic that sounded, either).

            Gays are just trying to stand up for our rights. That’s all we want. I would love for Mormons to stop shoving their beliefs down our throats.

            I get that you don’t agree with gays. Just don’t try to take away our rights because you don’t agree. I don’t agree with the Mormon Church. I believe your founder was a pedophile and a fraud. But, you know what? I’ll die defedning your right to believe in it.

            How about we all stop cramming things in each others’ throats and start accepting that we have a right to believe it and live how we want?

            You say you missed the part about hating others’ but your post sounds awfully hateful to me. “You got your 15 minutes of shame…” For a Christian, you sound awfully ornery.

          • The Rest Of The Story August 8, 2014 at 1:03 am

            Every oppressed group that has ever stood up for itself has been accused of shoving its agenda down others’ throats. Your claims are not new and are just as invalid today as they have always been.

        • Butt August 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

          I like you Tyler. You should join our Southern Utah Former Mormon group on facebook.

  • Not a Bishops Wife. August 6, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Do you want your child to not only drink the Kool-Aid but make it as well? Do you want your child to blindly follow the words of a small group of men who don’t live anywhere near you and never will? Do you want your children to grow up thinking that child abuse everywhere they go is a perfectly normal practice that they should participate in willingly and even encourage others to do it when they become adults? Do you want your child to be NAMBLA’s CEO when they grow up? If you said yes to any one of these questions then this school is right for your child. If you said yes to any one of these questions, you need to give up your parenting rights and remove yourself from society ASAP. 🙂

  • MormonDem August 6, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    Rightwing/religious education + real estate, on the site of a former used car lot. It’s the St. George in a nutshell.

    • Butt August 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

      I literally LOL’d at this. So true.

  • proudmommy August 7, 2014 at 1:03 am

    For all of those that are so negative about this. If you don’t like it then don’t put your kids in it. Its as simple as that. Why put down another persons lifestyle just because it don’t fit your. There is no difference between this school and a catholic school. They both bring religion into the classroom. So what’s the big deal? If it helps our kids learn and grow then isn’t it better for all of us?

    • uh huh August 7, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Problem is that the church, the one you are defending here is teaching our men how to be bully’s and our girls how to be housewives. Be honest, you are nothing more than a glorified maid with children. Yada Yada Yada….I know your work is just as important as others. Well, I would never send my daughter there as she will grow up to be strong, smart, young women not a craft making mindless baby making machine.

      • Coffeelarge August 13, 2014 at 11:14 am

        This is the best! Glorified maid with children and craft making mindless baby making machine! Too funny! This just about sums up the stay at home Mormon moms.

    • Butt August 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

      One is an even crazier religion than the other.

  • The Rest Of The Story August 7, 2014 at 2:27 am

    I don’t agree think that indoctrinating children into “religious education” does them any good whatsoever but rather hinders their intellectual development. And the courts have said that parents who want to send their children to private school have that right. One way to see it is that private schools do take pressure off the crowded public school system, which means a net benefit to other children who are enrolled in the public school system because of slightly maller class sizes. Only time will tell if this institution is producing results. If children leave with a solid academic education, that is what is most important.

    • The Rest Of The Story August 7, 2014 at 2:29 am

      That should read, “I don’t think” not “I don’t agree think.”
      I wish there were a way to either preview before posting, or edit afterward.

      • My Evil Twin August 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm

        How about reading what you have just written, prior to hitting the submit comment button. Case in point, I just wrote wubmit comment due to keystroke error. But corrected it before posting.

  • Dana August 7, 2014 at 5:35 am

    Preparing a new generation of non-questioning Kool Aid drinkers and affinity fraudsters under one roof.

    • Incognegro (Josh Dalton) August 7, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Hey I like Grape Drank Baby! WT… is juice anyway! Sugar,water and of course purple! Its the nectar of the Gods! Please do not relate drinking Kool-aid to the hasten abandon of the LDS church. If the LDS are drinking Kool Aid and no longer Mountain Dew and fountain drinks, then we have made progress as a Nation! WT… IS JUICE!
      Ed. ellipses.

      • Dana August 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

        Josh…wait…wait…I’m consulting the rocks in the hat that will provide me with the name of an appropriate beverage. This may take a while because the rocks aren’t speaking yet.

        • Josh Dalton (Incognegro) August 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm

          LUV IT!

  • anonymous August 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Cool. Another LDS brain washing institution. No wonder there is a unique kind of stupid in St. George.

    • John Paul August 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

      You have the freedom of speeches and the freedom to choose not to be brainwashed so please do them a favor and don’t attend. It’s just pretty sorry that a small group of people have to express their hatred in public and it is a unique kind of stupid that does that..

      • The Rest Of The Story August 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        If your faith can move mountains, then it should be able to withstand criticism.

        • John Paul August 7, 2014 at 4:40 pm

          Oh yeah! It has withstood criticism for nearly two hundred years. I just said it is pretty sorry when someone has to find fault with others when they should be looking in their own mirrors..

          • The Rest Of The Story August 8, 2014 at 1:07 am

            Apparently, irony is wasted on you.

  • John Paul August 7, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I guess it is some kind of fun to belittle and express bigotry against members of the LDS faith but then you have to consider the source’s it comes from. People who have nothing else better to do.. Old saying comes to mind.. Say something good or don’t say it at all..

  • Matthew Sevald August 7, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I’m in no way a Mormon and I never will be, but I welcome this private school to our area.
    The proof will be in the pudding as to whether or not these kids get a solid education, and per the advertisement, it seems like they’ll get a solid grasp of some real world skills like buying/selling and running a business. Hope they teach traditional things like math, science, and literature with as much passion.
    The old mechanic bay could serve as an area for trade school – something more people need, but few pursue because of the stigma associated with not going to college.
    I think the biggest thing to make or break this school though will be its discipline. They are in a unique position as a private school, and claiming to be Christian, to instill lessons from Christ on how to behave amongst each other and out in the world. I hope they have a strict dress code and their principal enforces discipline rigorously, as that is what really separates private schools from the jungles that are public schools.
    One concern though – they talk about tuition assistance but didn’t give the tuition cost…….very telling.

    • Chris August 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Tuition is $5500 per year for one student, as per their website.

      • Matt Sevald August 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        That’s pretty cheap

  • Alvin August 7, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Hmmmm, I thought that building was falling apart and sliding off the hill.

    • My Evil Twin August 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Nah, I think that was just the business that was in there. They couldn’t make it and were too embarrassed to tell the world. In looking for a good “spin” they decided to make their poor business practices the fault of the building and the hill.

  • Matt Eschler August 7, 2014 at 11:02 am

    The intolerance and fear of some writers of these posts is a little shocking. I am not certain why they have so little faith in the youth of today and why they are so fear filled of one organization. Maybe it is trauma based, maybe they just don’t quite understand how the world works. The negative comments are not an honest critique of anything, just a statement of personal fear shared as if it is researched truth.

    • Stan August 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      Fear has nothing to do with it. If there is any fear, it is taught to you. You fear the outside world. And guess what? Us outsiders know how to research. And what we read does not paint the picture of such a wonderful world that you think you live in.

      • John Paul August 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

        And what world is that?

        Did you research how the founder of the Jehova Witness’s rewrote the Bible to his own liking and how they meet in meeting houses with no windows, so they can live in their own world too.. Us insiders know how to research too.

        • tight magic undies August 7, 2014 at 10:33 pm

          You went after the founder of Johova Witness’ for rewriting the Bible. Wow. Do you not see the irony? Hello, Joe Smith? You are BOTH goofy in your beliefs. Please reply because I have a bet with a buddy that says you absolutely can not make yourself look any dumber.

  • Allie August 7, 2014 at 11:02 am

    This is a private school, supported with private money. The state REQUIRES they teach a mandated curriculum. After that, they can also teach religious instruction. No different than parochial schools of the Catholic Church. When I went to public school (granted, a long time ago), Catholic children were allowed to leave at 2PM on Tuesday afternoons to go to “religious instruction” down the street at the Catholic high school. No one got upset and no noses were bent out of shape. The kids will get an education which is the primary focus.

    • justsaying August 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      Private schools in Utah have NO mandates. They can teach anything, or nothing. Because Utah has no private school mandates parents need to vet schools. Look at their curriculum. Who wrote it? How do they assess their program?

      • Bob August 8, 2014 at 9:31 am

        Yes parents need to do their homework too!

  • Bill August 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Thanks “DesertBill” for you comments. Your remarks reflect common sense, Intelligent and tolerance for others.

  • bob August 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t think the folks running this school have realized how cheap mormons are. Mormons are collectively the cheapest group of people I’ve ever known of. I don’t know of any that would be willing to pay to educate their kids when they can get it free at any public school. If I were trying to make business out of that building I’d turn it into another crackhead recovery center or a facility for delinquent teens. Those type of operations seem to be where all the money is at these days… no joke.

    • John Paul August 7, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Could you please explain why you think Mormons are the cheapest people you have ever known? Now you know at least one who has paid for his kids educations.. Your statements are baseless and you are showing your own ignorance and lack of education..

    • Dana August 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      JJ was very free wheeling with his money. Oh wait, the guvmint sez it wasn’t his money.

  • S. Carter August 7, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Here are some of the courses being offered at this fine institution of learning:

    1. Judging 101 – (Why you’re so much better than non-mormons, or even other mormons!)
    2. Convincing ward members to join your MLM team (Tithing=blessings)
    3. Being the best, submissive wife you can be!
    4. Obedience to the Brethren
    5. How to bear your testimony

    • Josh Dalton (Incognegro) August 7, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      S.Carter is my new hero! You beat out my homie Chris Hanson….at least until they come out with some new episodes of TCAP! Great stuff!

  • Josh Dalton (Incognegro) August 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I wonder if they are going to teach the kids the truth. It is the “true religion” right? So one of the first think they should teach is that Jesus was a Jew. So when they go on a mission and talk to people who left the LDS to go back to Judaism (my Mother) they don’t turn up their noses and say “sorry to hear that” and “that’s not right” (happened on my front porch.) I also hope they teach them about the introduction to The Book of Mormon. It talks about the true roots of Mormonism came from 2 Jewish tribes. So being frugal is only in their blood. Like my Mother! She is Jewish, you don’t get rich by not being frugal. She has a big house and a Cadillac. I’m not saying having a Cadillac has anything to do with being Jewish… GO FALCONS!

  • Bob August 8, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I am not LDS….but I have some very dear friends that are Mormon. They respect my Christian values. I really enjoy sharing with them as long as it does not get too confrontational. (the wall) Public Schools are teaching their share of “Kool Aid” too. I see on Providence home page it states open to Biblical studies for non-LDS students. It is interesting that only 2% of Utah are made up of Evangelical Christians. Quite the mission field here in Utah. I share my faith because that is what the Bible says to do. I don’t share religion….I share about relationship with the Jesus of the Bible.

  • Bruce Bennett August 12, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Another illustrative post! Those who most adamantly demand tolerance prove themselves to be the most hateful…just read the comments. What are you afraid of?

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