Park City rec vision for Ecker Hill, Kearns campus taking shape |

Park City rec vision for Ecker Hill, Kearns campus taking shape

Jeff Dempsey, The Park Record
Residents swim at the Park City Aquatic Center at Ecker Hill Middle School. Public comment from a Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan open house held April 27 indicated broad support for expanding the pool from 25 meters to 50 meters. (Park Record file photo)

School sites took the spotlight April 27 at the second public meeting of the Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan, and May 4, the Plan’s advisory committee met to weigh the people’s input.

Landmark Designs Project Manager Lisa Benson said there were differing opinions on some parts of the project and some areas where a clear consensus emerged.

"For the Ecker Hill campus, there seemed to be general support for a 50-meter pool," she said. "Some people were also supportive of adding a leisure pool to the site."

The Park City Schools Aquatic Center, as it is known, currently boasts only a 25-meter pool.

"At the Kearns campus, most everybody suggested leaving the North 40 fields as is. And as we’ve thought through the options, that seems to make the most sense. With the high water table and the sewer line running out there, there could be significant issues."

The majority of people also pushed for keeping Dozier Field where it is. A few attendees stressed that the Park City School District should not build its own facilities, that they should be jointly developed in a partnership with Park City or the Snyderville Basin Recreation District or both. School Board Member Julie Eihausen said she agrees with that sentiment in theory but added it can be hard to implement in practice.

"We are more than happy to have partnerships," she said. "One of the things I think maybe the public doesn’t recognize is it needs to be a ‘win-win’ for both sides. And so, if the facility is going to be used mostly for Park City School District, there is not really an impetus for the city or Basin to get involved. Not unless there is at least a 50-50 use.

"So that is where we are running into a problem. We have a much greater need than what our current partnerships are able to fill."

Park City Recreation Manager Ken Fisher suggested staff from Park City, the Basin and the school district get together to plot out how they would program a new facility over the course of a week.

"How many hours the school district would use, what times, and actually sit down and come up with a few different scenarios for use," he said. "Try to just program it out so we can explain it to the community and they can see the potential uses and the hours needed and the size of facility needed."

Benson said it would be beneficial to bring the National Ability Center into that process, as well, to make sure their needs are met. Gail Loveland, NAC executive director, said her organization is looking to expand and her preference would be to form partnerships.

"That would make sense for us," she said. "And our primary use would be weekdays during the day."

Fisher said it would be useful to have that theoretical programming in place for the next public meetings May 25 for the benefit of the community, to help people grasp the pros and cons of each concept.

"That would be great," said Landmark Design Owner Mark Vlasic. "Then we can fold it right into the presentation and hit that head-on."

Now that the school district is playing a bigger part in the process, there were questions raised about the timeline of recreation projects like the Master Plan and the grade realignment PCSD is currently working on. Benson asked Todd Hauber, the district’s associated superintendent of business, whether the Recreation Master Plan needed to slow down to align itself with the grade realignment.

"We have design teams," Hauber said. "Their goal would be to have some schematics by the end of this calendar year. I don’t know that you can wait that long. But part of that will be, what does the complexion of Kearns campus look like? Focusing on the high school and its remodel needs. So that’s where things could get a little out of sync. There is a need to keep coordinated."

One comment from the public meeting suggested decisions on the community’s recreation future should be made with the residents in mind. Tourists should not be catered to, the commenter said, "unless Vail Resorts is paying for it." Fisher took exception to that idea.

"We wouldn’t have the facilities we have if it wasn’t for our tourists," he said. "If we’re talking just Park City proper, 7,000 residents, you wouldn’t have ice sheets, rec centers, parks."

Moving forward, Vlasic said the plan for the May 25 public meetings is to bring together the public input and the guidance from the advisory committee and come up with three overall concepts for the master plan, encompassing the entire community. Up to now, the public meetings have shown several ideas for each of a dozen sites. At the next meeting, Vlasic said, the idea would be to show three concepts with the best use of each site taken into consideration.

"We haven’t yet explored those big picture questions yet and I think it’s worth doing that," he said. "We can use this information to get to those thematic, big picture concepts. I think this is the really fun part. We’re taking all these pieces and evaluating them and coming up with a picture that makes sense for the future."

The next public meetings for the Mountain Recreation Facilities Master Plan will be Wednesday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse, 1388 Center Dr. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the PC MARC, 1200 Little Kate Rd. For more information, visit

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