Land for a new school is eyed
Park City School District officials think the current cool down in the real estate market might be a perfect time to secure property for a future high school.
"We’re needing to look toward the future and we’re in the situation now where we would like to lock up some land as prices continue to rise and land values increase in this area," Park City School District Superintendent Ray Timothy said.
The Summit County Commission will meet with the Park City School Board next month to help identify possible sites for a new school in the Snyderville Basin.
"They want us to show them," County Commissioner Bob Richer said about school officials who requested the meeting.
According to School Board member David Chaplin, "We’d like to go around with the county officials as well as city officials to look at these various properties that might still be available."
"There might be some other idea that the officials might have that would help us find a way to do a very effective campus or individual school site," Chaplin said.
A new school could go in Silver Creek or at Bear Hollow Village on land donated to the district, Park City School Board member Lisa Kirchenheiter said.
"We’re not pinched at all right now, but we don’t want the next school board or the next school district or the next community members to be caught behind either. We’d like to be prepared and have property and lay a foundation for future growth in our county," Kirchenheiter said.
Bear Hollow developer Michael Brodsky said he donated five acres to the school district for an elementary school to be built near Kimball Junction.
"It would not house a high school and it probably would not house a middle school," Brodsky said.
A deed restriction is very specific about what that property can be used for, Brodsky said.
"The deed restriction identified that they could use the property as either open space or for a school," he said.
But Chaplin said "the rule of thumb for an elementary school these days is about 10 acres."
"Middle schools go anywhere from 20 to 30 acres," Chaplin said.
Officials would likely build a new high school, Kirchenheiter said.
"We don’t want to get caught with overcrowded schools," she said.
A new school won’t be needed for at least 10 years, Chaplin said, adding that building a high school requires about 40 acres.
"We are aware of the fact that prime land within the school district is pretty scarce right now," he said. "The value of it is extremely high."
The current high school was built in 1977 and could accommodate about 1,700 people, Chaplin said, adding that about 1,000 students are enrolled today.
"We’re not in desperate need of a school site at the present, but we are putting money away on a regular basis," he said. "We’re looking for the opportunity to make a good investment and have it ready when the need occurs, when that will be it is really hard to say."
A new high school could cost $50 million, according to Chaplin.
"We are trying to watch the growth patterns in the school district and in the county," Kirchenheiter said. "More people will want to come to our schools and they pressure our schools and can have some impact on what our future needs might be."
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