The Park City School District’s Master Planing Group met on Wednesday. The big discussions were around timing of hiring a planner, grade realignment, and location of a new Treasure Mountain School.
The committee has put out its request for a Planner and has received a number of questions from potential candidates. The Planner will be chosen next week and will start immediately. The responsibilities of this person (or company) will be to provide design and location guidance to the committee. A question arose whether the planner could also ultimately become the developer. It was reassuring to hear Committee Chair Rory Murphy be steadfastly opposed to the idea. His concern was that there had to be separation between these two groups and that if they were the same person it could be a conflict of interest. He referenced the legal issues currently occurring with the Jordanelle Special Services District, and said that he didn’t know if anyone had done anything wrong there, but that people were losing jobs and lives being upended. He stressed that the committee and School District were dealing with large amounts of public money and that everything had to be done the right way. He was arguing for complete transparency and protection of the public. It was refreshing.
A few committee members gave their opinions on grade realignment. It appears there has been little criticism of the idea and as of now they are likely to realign grades with Pre-K through 4th as the elementary schools, 5th and 6th at a junior high, 8th and 9th at a middle school, and 9th through 12th at Park City High School.That said, no formal decision has been made and they will likely hold a public open house to provide an opportunity for further public comment.
It also appears the committee is open to putting Treasure Mountain School at a location other than on Kearns BLVD. They spoke about putting the school on the Triangle Parcel (where the lamas are on Highway 40). The three impediments to this are that this land is in the South Summit School District, the land needs cleaned up, and the land is currently owned by the county/city. The Park City School District has approached South Summit before to engage in talks about district bondaries; however, it appears South Summit has not been willing to sit down and visit about them. It was stated that approximately 75% of South Summit’s funding comes from Promontory property taxes and naturally they didn’t want to give those up. However, carving out the 100 acres for a new school does not impact their revenues (since there are no taxes due to it being owned by the government already). So, perhaps this proposal could be more palatable. Committee member Tanya Knauer said that the Summit County Council had offered to help get the parties to sit down at the table and discuss this issue. The committee agreed they would like the County’s assistance. As for the impediments of land cleanup and ownership, those would likely be details that could be figured out if the location ultimately makes sense.
The final point, about moving Treasure Mountain, was interesting. The committee contemplated moving 7th and 8th graders to Ecker Hill and building a new 5th and 6th grade building instead of a 7th and 8th. The benefits of this, according to some committee members is that Ecker Hill is a big school and not necessarily suited to smaller children and Ecker Hill has the size and space that would allow for improvement in programs in 7th/8th like Dual Immersion. They could then build a smaller 5th/6th school that may cost less. They also mentioned potentially being able to put this school on their excess property at Trailside or Parley’s Park. Again, this was more brainstorming than setting policy but it appeared to be received positively from members.
The committee is continuing its work. A Planner will be hired in the next week and a communications specialist shortly after. The next meeting will be on Thursday February 26th from 4PM to 6PM at the Park City School District Building on Kearns. As this is an open meeting, the public is free to attend. So, if this topic interests you, we hope to see you there.