The South Summit Board of Education will be considering building new district offices as the board begins to lay the preliminary groundwork to discuss cost and timing.
In last week's board meeting, members spoke with the Salt Lake City-based architectural firm Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects about the possibility of building a new district office and where the district office would best be located. With properties in Kamas, Oakley and Francis, the board would first have to choose a site and get price quotes on the cost of a new building.
"We really just took a quick look what kind of space we would need," said South Summit School District Superintendent Barry Walker, "and we looked at what size we would need. The conversation more or less leaned toward wanting a new district office to be modest but still be able to meet our needs for the years to come. We don't need a big, expensive building, just something to meet our current needs."
For now, district employees work in the current district offices, a double-wide modular home sitting on a permanent foundation, or are based in schools in the South Summit School District. The modular home is in constant need of repair, Walker said, between the heating system, the air conditioning and an electrical system that needs upgrading.
"We need something that is modest but able to grow," Walker added.
Whether or not the district office plans discussed last week will move forward relies on the board's approval, which decided to create a committee to discuss the issue and bring more information to the board later this year. The committee will most likely consist of board members, administrators, faculty and parents.
"The current district office is extremely old and undersized," said Board of Education President Matt Flinders. "But we are just starting this process. We don't have drawings. We don't have a location, size or cost. The big question is when we will replace the district offices because we've got to get new office at some point. Once we know the prices and layout, we can make decision."
Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects representatives discussed a possible timeframe if the board does chose to build the new facility for the coming school year. If the board could reach a decision by the end of winter, the firm could break ground and complete the new offices by October or September.
The firm also estimated that a 5,000 square foot space could house the district employees comfortably, with a possible construction cost of roughly $1 million, according to Walker.
"It's in the very, very beginning stages," Flinders said.
While Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects delves into new district offices, the firm will also review other district properties for long-range plans and future sites for new schools, including a property donated to the district in the Promontory area. Walker said the district was not sure what land could be used and to what extent, information that will come to light in coming months as the firm completes the assessments.
"This will all be part of our long-range plan," Walker said. "These will be in-depth studies so that we what it would take to build there. These properties are where we're looking for future school sites we need to know what is buildable property because if it's not, we need to find another property."
Three properties will be assessed, including the 2.5 acre Kamas site, 37 acres in Francis and 40 acres in Promontory.
"There is definitely some clean up that will be needed," Walker added. "We need to know what that will it cost us too.
"Right now, we're waiting to form the building committee. I'm hoping that the district office plans, an actual decision on whether or not to build, will come in early spring."