Multi-purpose building on Kearns approved |

Multi-purpose building on Kearns approved

In a four to one vote on Tuesday, the Park City School District Board of Education approved a motion to move forward on a multi-purpose building on Kearns Boulevard that would serve a variety of uses, including a new home for the high school’s popular new Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies program.

While the exact cost of the facility has not been determined, it has been pegged at approximately $5 million in previous meetings.

That figure has drawn some criticism from constituents in the district, some of whom offered public input at the meeting, albeit after the board voted. They also presented board members with a petition signed by approximately 30 students opposed to the project.

Superintendent Ember Conley gave the project a positive recommendation, saying when she came to the school district, a "needs assessment" was performed, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics more commonly known as STEM- were an area of concern.

After discussing her campaign to make improving STEM in the district a priority as well as proposing an internal audit of all school district buildings and facilities, Conley recommended that the school board approve the Request for Proposal, or RFP, to construct a building with a timeline to complete it by August 2016.

"It is an extension of the original timeline, but I think we should begin construction in December [of this year] after completing the audit and putting a plan for use in place," she said.

School board member Nancy Garrison made a motion to approve the RFP on cost for the construction of a building that would be completed in June 2016. School board president Maurice "Moe" Hickey seconded the motion.

School board member Tania Knauer, however, voiced concern over the decision to approve the construction of a building when she said she was not entirely sure what it will be used for or exactly how much it will cost.

"I think we need to understand the full cost we could potentially be looking at in five to 10 years," Knauer said. "I don’t approve any dollars until I know exactly that."

The funds for construction will come out of the school district’s capital fund, which is used to cover the costs of building projects, construction, remodels and improvements.

Last month, the school district’s business administrator Todd Hauber said the estimated cost of the project was "something in the $5 million range," but the costs of construction materials and design had not yet been hammered out.

Several different uses for the building were also discussed, including housing a STEM academy and becoming a new district office. Four school board members then voted to approve the RFP to construct a new building on Kearns Boulevard to be completed by June 2016. Knauer voted against it.

James Fleming and Ed Mulick of the Park City Education Association had expressed their concern at the beginning of the meeting during the PCEA report, but the rest of the community did not get to do so until public comment immediately following the decision.

One resident said the discussion that followed Garrison’s motion was unrelated to what the board voted on and felt they had disregarded Knauer’s concerns. Another said the construction of the building was premature because PCCAPS enrollment numbers for next school year had decreased.

A third resident approached the podium to agree with Knauer, saying that to construct a building before it is even known exactly what it will be used for "just seems a little reckless."

David Jenkins, a Park City High School senior, said he felt that the PCCAPS program was a great and innovative idea, but $5 million could be better spent.

"What I love about PCCAPS are the teachers. I believe they are the reason it has stayed afloat and is deemed successful, but several of those teachers will not be back next year," he said. "Also, we are force-fed what to say to people who come in. For example, while the governor was visiting, we were told to pull things up on our screens and present ourselves as professionals, but we’re not; we’re high school kids."

Jenkins then provided the school board with a petition against the PCCAPS program signed by approximately 30 students.

For more information on the decision, contact the Park City School District office at 435-645-5600. The next Park City School District Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 3.

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