Published on February 20, 2013 by Casey
The Intermountain Indian School (1950–1984) was an Indian boarding school in Brigham City, Utah.
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The Intermountain Indian School was originally the Bushnell Army Hospital, which was open from 1942 to 1946 and served wounded soldiers of World War II. The land was donated by the city to the Federal government so Brigham City could get the hospital. Doctors, nurses, military personnel, wounded patients, and their families arrived in Brigham City to work at Bushnell. After the hospital’s closure, the buildings sat empty for a short period while the city decided what should be done with the land.
In 1948, Brigham City got a proposal for an Indian school. The estimate for remodeling, new construction, and equipment was $3.75 million. President Harry Truman signed the bill allocating the money in May 1949. The superintendent and a few assistants began working on June 4, 1949, and by January 1950, 542 students were accepted at the federally run Intermountain Indian School. Since that time, the school was authorized to enroll 2,150 students. The school served Navajo children who were bused from Arizona and were taught from elementary to high school, and had its own medical facility and printing press.
In 1954, 24 students graduated from the school, and by 1955 that number jumped to 188. By 1981, 5,319 students had graduated.
Despite its success as a Navajo boarding school, enrollment was down in the early 70s, so the school was changed to the Intermountain Inter-Tribal School for the 1974-1975 school year. It grew to having students from nearly 100 tribes.
The school closed in 1984, after which city officials submitted a master plan in Washington, D.C. to get the 17 acres (69,000 m2) along U.S. Route 91 back from the federal government. The agreement reached was that the land would remain open space and not be used for anything other than recreation, and it was deeded back to the city.