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Why Not Rebuild Treasure Mountain on Kearns Boulevard with 7th, 8th, and 9th?

I was talking to a friend tonight and she said one of those things that makes too much sense. I was explaining the improvements the school district wants. She said, “so they want to spend $20 million on the high school, to add 1 grade?” I said yes. She gave me that look and said, “can’t they build a new school for that?” She has a point.

Then she said something really important. “Why not just rebuild Treasure Mountain Junior High with 7th, 8th, and 9th grade and put 5th and 6th at Ecker Hill? It has to be cheaper and you still get the room to have all day kindergarten in the elementary schools.”

Why didn’t I think of that? Or more importantly, why didn’t the Master Planning Committee think of that?

Right now the plan is to spend about $50 million to add on to the High School, tear down Treasure Mountain, and build a new school at Ecker Hill. What would it cost to rebuild Treasure Mountain for 3 grades? Using national standards, we would take the number of students (about 1200) times 140 square feet per student times $170 per square feet. That gives us a cost of $28 million. Not cheap … but it is half the cost of their current plan.

The school district gets what they say they want with all day kindergarten. The death trap Treasure Mountain International School gets torn down. A new school is built. The number of transitions for students are the same. We keep schools in city. The benefits associated with a centralized Kearns campus are magnified.

Now I’m sure some would say that the real negative with this idea is that it would increase traffic on Kearns. Yet, when the Master planning Committee was talking tonight about adding a school to the Ecker Hill campus, they said traffic was Summit County’s problem to solve. They said that what they were concerned with was education. So, in this case, any traffic issue is Park City Municipal’s issue to solve.

Given that, this almost seems like a no brainer.

Comments

2 Comments

Erma Gerd

I think you’re oversimplifying this. Your solution does not address the following problems:
1. Hundreds of TMJH students walk back and forth to the HS for classes. This not only isn’t fun in the winter, it also makes them late for classes.
2. The fact that 6th grade is legally part of elementary school makes staffing very difficult when 6th and 7th are combined. Teachers who are licensed to teach elementary school can’t teach 7th grade. It also makes the dual language program extremely difficult.

The grade realignment would have the following additional benefits:
1. Developmentally 5th and 6th are a much, much better fit than 6th and 7th.
2. 9th grade is legally part of HS. Having the 9th graders in the HS vastly improves their HS experience through better access to higher level classes, as well as inclusion in clubs and sports.

So yes, your solution might have the lowest cost. But that alone doesn’t make it the best solution.

Parkrag

Erma-

Thanks for the comments. You make good points.

However, in this proposal, 5th and 6th are together at Ecker and 7th/8th/9th are at Treasure. So, I think it does help with keeping the elementary kids together.

Your point about walking in the winter is still valid, though. Yet, I wonder if that is worth $20 million in extra spending. Also, I don’t know how many 8th graders may be able to take high school classes, but having them close to the high school may enable that too.

I think there are lots of options. I just want to make sure that when we spend our $50 million, that we make the smartest decision over all.


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