School District closes in on bond proposal that could reach $89 million |

School District closes in on bond proposal that could reach $89 million

Board to vote on path forward next week

Park City School District.
Park Record file photo

Park City School District is one step closer to finalizing a bond proposal that could total nearly $90 million to pay for large-scale facilities improvements that school officials have long desired.

The Board of Education met in a work session Wednesday and discussed several options for major projects that would move ninth grade to Park City High School and eighth grade to Ecker Hill Middle School. The board indicated it will vote on which options to choose at its March 16 regular meeting, as well as which aspects of the plan to include in the bond.

The board heard from Dave Hart, an executive vice president with MOCA, an architecture and design firm the board hired to help guide the process. Hart presented the board with three options for each project, including two possibilities that would involve additions and remodels at each campus, as well as a cost estimate for constructing completely new buildings.

For Park City High School, the options included:

• Option A: Adding to the existing high school building primarily on its east side, with two new wings on the east side and one on the south. The cost was estimated to be $88.4 million.

• Option B: More modest additions to the existing building both on its western and eastern sides, at an estimated cost of $53.4 million.

• Building an all-new high school from the ground up, at an estimated cost of $176 million.

At Ecker Hill Middle School, the options presented were:

• Option A: Adding two new wings at the northeast and northwest corners of the existing building, as well as an addition on the west side. The cost was estimated at $35.2 million.

• Option B: Adding two new wings while also cutting into the existing structure, along with a bigger addition on the west side, with an estimated cost of $40.5 million.

• Building a new school at a cost of $60 million.

Hart recommended moving forward with option B for PCHS and option A for Ecker Hill, which he described as the combination with the lowest cost and the shortest build time. If construction on those options was done concurrently, the high school would be done by May 2024 and the middle school by September 2023, he said. With the entirety of these options included, a bond proposal put before the voters in November would be approximately $88.65 million.

Wednesday’s work session did not include discussion of proposed plans to expand elementary schools to augment preschool and community learning programs. The district previously indicated the projects aimed at aligning older grades would likely occur simultaneously, while the expansion of pre-school and community learning centers at elementary schools could be pursued on a somewhat independent timeline.

The board has indicated in the past it intends to explore the use of several methods to cover the cost of the projects, which could include property tax increases and revenue lease bonds in addition to general obligation bonds.

Hart said option A for Ecker Hill has the added benefit of being less intrusive to the students.

“It would be noisy at times but you could keep kids in the building,” he said. “With option B, I don’t know how you keep the school open.”

The board asked about concurrent versus sequential construction, and Hart said he recommended tackling the projects together. Taking one project to completion and then beginning the next, he said, would likely mean increased costs and a bigger bond proposal in November.

As the presentation came to a close, the board indicated it would choose construction plans for PCHS and Ecker Hill at its March 16 board meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. The meeting can be viewed on Zoom.

Hart’s presentation to the board, including design mockups, can be viewed here.

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