District to install fences around Park City elementary schools
Following a year of discussions, the Park City School District will move forward with its plans to install fences at all of the elementary schools.
The Park City Board of Education recently approved the fencing recommendation at each of the schools, a project that is expected to cost a total of $306,532. Each of the schools will have fences along the perimeter. Petra Butler, a member of the Board, said that the district plans to install the fences as soon as possible.
According to a district document, the fence plans were determined in collaboration with Cole Smith, a safety consultant from Tresit Group, Riley Peck from the Division of Wildlife Services, Homeland Security, the Park City Police Department, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and community members.
Butler said that the fences are intended to improve the safety of the schools. They will be used to keep students in, since some try to leave during the school day, and to keep strangers out. Plus, they will help to keep some wild animals out of the school property, such as moose or elk.
There was some pushback from parents and community members when the Board first suggested installing fences last fall. But Butler said that, given the nationwide push for increased security at schools, there has recently been less resistance.
Kelly Manning, who was on the fencing committee for Trailside Elementary School, said that the Board has been good at listening to community members’ concerns. Her children attend the school and she also lives along the line the fence will run. One of the main issues that she and her neighbors had about the fence was its appearance. A chain link fence will be installed around the majority of the perimeter of Trailside Elementary, but the Board is still working on selecting a different fence style for sections that border homes.
“When we first met in October, it was a really negative meeting,” Manning said. “I think both sides were really unhappy as we left that meeting. But since that time, we have come together as a community and have agreed on the fence project.”
She said that she is glad that the Board is doing what it can to keep students safe, because she said that there is a large elk herd that lives by the school.
The other schools will have chain link fences that will be a minimum of five to six feet in height. At Parley’s Park Elementary School, the district plans to add about 400 feet of sidewalk across the field in order to have safe access year round. The fence line at McPolin Elementary School will be moved back to the property line in order to create an additional 28,000 square feet of playground. In order to do that, crews will need to move a nearby berm back, which is expected to cost $80,000.
A small, six-foot chain link fence will be added to Jeremy Ranch Elementary School.
The funds for the project are coming out of the 2017-2018 budget, Butler said.
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The Park City School District offices were inadvertently locked, but security footage was reviewed and the only two community members who showed up were let in and joined in an informal chat with Board of Education members and staff.