Park City School District to place $79 million bond on the ballot in November |

Park City School District to place $79 million bond on the ballot in November

Figure is a portion of $129 million in capital projects

The Park City School District will seek approval of a $79.2 million general obligation bond after its Board of Education voted this week to place the measure on the ballot in November.

The bond comes as the culmination of a years-long master planning process for the school district, and after months of discussion over what the scope of the projects to revamp the district’s facilities should be.

The projects, totaling an estimated $129 million, will include new construction and renovation at Park City High School, Ecker Hill Middle School and Parley’s Park, McPolin, Jeremy Ranch and Trailside elementary schools. The projects would expand Park City High School to accommodate the ninth grade, Ecker Hill Middle School to fit the eighth grade and build additions to all four elementary schools for pre-kindergarten programs and other services.

School officials have long seen moving ninth-graders into PCHS as a top priority, and also finding a new home for the eighth grade would allow the district to retire the aging Treasure Mountain Junior High School.

Superintendent Dr. Jill Gildea said the $79.2 million figure represents the cost of the Park City High School and Jeremy Ranch and McPolin elementary school projects. Board President Erin Grady said, however, that should not be taken to mean that those portions of the overall plan are more or less important than the other projects.

“We are still looking to finance all projects in phase one, all $129 million,” she said. “Not one will become a priority over another.”

Board member Andrew Caplan said the district will seek to fund the remaining $50 million through other means such as grants, philanthropic efforts and lease revenue bonds.

“The lease would be approved on an annual basis as part of the budgeting process and would be specific to (the) certain projects that we’ve outlined here,” Caplan said.

Caplan said the board is trying to build a “massive amount” of capital projects “in the most fiscally responsible way possible.”

The bond comes just a few years after a prior attempt by the district to fund facilities improvements, a 2015 bond in the amount of $56 million, was shot down by voters by a 20-point margin.

That bond would have paid for several capital projects, including a $27.5 million expansion and gym remodel of Park City High School, a new fifth- and sixth-grade school at the Ecker Hill campus, improvements to McPolin Elementary School and athletic facilities improvements.

Todd Hauber, the district’s business administrator, said if approved the $79.2 million bond would result in a $100 tax increase per $945,000 in assessed valuation for primary homes, and a $182 increase for commercial properties and secondary homes.

“We recognize that is quite a bit of money,” Caplan said, “but we are trying to keep it at that amount and again that is why we are pursuing alternate financing. We’re trying to be creative, using as many tools as possible given the project size.”

The district has been pursuing master planning, in one form or another, since 2014. The current round of master planning began in 2018.

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