Expansion designs unveiled for Park City High School
Residents asked to provide feedback, in person or online
The Park City School District has spent months crafting a range of design options for a potential expansion of Park City High School. Last week, the public finally got a glimpse of what may be in store for the school’s future.
The district held the first of three community input sessions for residents to provide feedback on four options dreamed up by the firm VCBO Architecture under the guidance of a district committee tasked with exploring the high school expansion. The sessions are aimed at allowing the public to help determine the most suitable option before the Board of Education is scheduled to decide on one in the spring.
Joe Cronley, a resident who served on the committee — which was made up of community members, teachers and administrators — said he is pleased with the range of options the district managed. He was a vocal opponent of the $56 million bond school leaders asked voters to support in 2015 to fund several projects, including a high school expansion, but said the process this time around has remedied his concerns.
He was hopeful the feedback from residents will help the district settle on a plan that earns broad support from the community.
“I’m pleased with the range of options,” he said. “… The public has been aware of this since that bond started, and hopefully we’re adding to that process and public awareness with these meetings.”
The four options the district presented have similarities, but ultimately come with a range of pros and cons, according to Whitney Ward, a representative from VCBO who led the public session, held Tuesday, Dec. 13. She said at the meeting that each option was designed to include more space for classrooms, the career and technical education (CTE) programs, the performing and visual arts programs, athletics, common areas and administrative offices.
Each design would increase the capacity of the school to roughly 2,000, large enough to accommodate the ninth grade, which would move into the school from Treasure Mountain Junior High.
South and west class expansion
The first option calls for building classroom expansions to the south and west of the school’s west wing, as well as a large athletic facility for the physical education programs and a basketball gym in a standalone building to the northeast, on the site of what is currently the varsity baseball diamond.
CTE standalone to the northwest
Option 2 is similar, but would include a standalone building northwest of the school for the CTE program, in addition to the athletic facility to the northeast.
West wing stretches south
A separate CTE building would also be constructed in Option 3, but placed on the site of the baseball field. That option also includes a classroom expansion and athletic facility connected to the school’s west wing, stretching into the parking lot south of the school.
Dozier Field demolished
The fourth option is different from the other three because it calls for classroom and athletic facility expansions built far enough west to encroach on what is currently Dozier Field. The prospect of moving Dozier Field was a source of outrage among many who opposed the bond last year, but district leaders said they included the option this time around so the public could consider every alternative.
Residents at the Dec. 13 public session indicated that they favored a hybrid of Option 3 and Option 1. In such a design — which will be included in the future public sessions — a classroom expansion would be built to the south of the school’s west wing, and the CTE facility would be constructed to the northwest of the school. The athletic facility would be built to the west but would not require moving Dozier Field.
“That feedback was heard, and it makes a lot of sense,” Cronley said of the hybrid option.
Ultimately, the Board of Education may choose one of the options presented at the public session, or it could pick a design with various elements plucked from two or more of the alternatives.
The project could begin as early as this summer, using money from the district’s capital reserves. Depending on the cost of the project, and how the Board chooses to finance it, the district may ask taxpayers to support another bond measure on next November’s ballot.
West said at the public session that the costs of each option won’t be known until the district hires a general contractor for the project. Cronley said that is one of the drawbacks of the process, acknowledging residents won’t be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons between the designs until they have price tags affixed to them.
“You heard it again from the public that they’d like to have cost figures associated with these options,” he said. “We don’t have those right now, and that’s a valid point. Hopefully, in the coming weeks we’ll be able to give them some cost estimates.”
The two remaining public input sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Ecker Hill Middle School and Thursday, Feb. 2, at the high school. The district is encouraging residents who cannot attend one of the meetings to provide input on the plans online. Residents can view the designs and offer feedback at pchs-expansion.org.
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The forum was moderated by KPCW’s Carolyn Murray and was mostly subdued, no surprise given that two of the incumbent candidates are unchallenged.