Park City School District is asking constituents to set their allowance
June 26, 2015
If your children attend school in Park City — or if you don’t have kids but live in or own property in the school district — you have a dog in this fight.
The Park City Board of Education, district administrators and a committee of community members have spent the last nine months trying to figure out how to address current facility shortcomings and potential enrollment growth. As a result, they have come up with quite a wish list.
But now they need to figure out how much they can actually afford to build, and that is where you come in.
The list of potential projects for Phase 1 rings up at about $50 million. That level of funding would allow the district to tear down Treasure Mountain Junior High, build a new school for fifth and sixth graders, expand the high school to accommodate the ninth grade and move the Miners football field to the junior high site.
The district has about $15 million in hand but even a $35 million bond would require a significant property tax hike, one that voters may not be prepared to swallow.
The challenge for the board will be to determine which projects are truly necessary, set a realistic bond amount and then convince constituents they will spend the money wisely. To that end, this month, they are hosting three public meetings to take the community’s temperature on a variety of specific line items.
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There seems to be a consensus that the Treasure Mountain Middle School building is beyond repair. The original structure’s construction flaws have been a bane of the district’s budget from opening day. With catastrophes ranging from roof collapses to toxic fumes and contaminated soils, the building offers a textbook lesson in why school districts should not be exempt from municipal building inspections.
It follows then, if TMJH is slated for demolition, a new school will be needed. In fact, the district has already approved a series of grade realignments to pave the way for a new school. The proposal under consideration calls for moving the ninth grade back to the high school (in a new addition), housing seventh and eighth graders at Ecker Hill Middle School and building a new ‘upper’ elementary school for fifth and sixth graders on the Ecker Hill Campus.
But, while they were dreaming up new configurations, various other ideas crept onto the drawing board. Tentative Phase 2 projects could include: punting Dozier Field over to the TMJH site and building a field house to go with it, expanding McPolin Elementary, enlarging the Ecker Hill pool and building a new administration building.
The potential new football field configuration has already drawn fire, and past experience from the district’s previous proposal to build a $5 million facility for its Center for Advanced Professional Studies program suggests that taxpayers want the district to be forward-thinking but frugal.
Parkites have always been supportive of public education but that doesn’t mean the district has carte blanche. School officials understand that and are asking for help in determining what stays on the shopping list and what gets cut. Furthermore, if the district hopes to have a bond on November’s ballot it will have to finalize the details by Aug. 18.
To add your two cents, plan to attend one or more of the following three meetings:
Monday, June 29 at 3:30 p.m. at the district office, 2700 Kearns Blvd.
Monday, July 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Ecker Hill Middle School, 2465 W. Kilby Road
Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m. at Park City High School, 1750 Kearns Blvd.