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Task Force Asks How Safe Is Treasure Mountain Junior High School


The Park City School District Master Plan established a Treasure Mountain Junior High School task force. One of the questions they’re asking is how safe is the school - especially given this year’s snow load?

Treasure Mountain has long been a target of criticism for its poor design with narrow, dead end hallways and dark interiors. During class changes, students and teachers have complained about extreme crowding and some have claimed it is a sick building.  It was built in 1982 and the usefulness of the building was discussed in the first task force meeting on February 12th.  Attendees discussed if the facility is safe and structurally sound enough to accommodate this year’s snow loads along with any potential seismic events. 

Director of Buildings and Grounds, Todd Hansen says his team monitors all the schools for snow loads. During the winter break, he hired a snow removal company to shovel the Treasure Mountain roof.

“Because it rained and got a little heavy with the ice, we did shovel that roof off. I had the roof shoveled and that’s unusual. Usually we don’t have to, but anyway, we cleared it off when the school was out last week. You know, when it was built, it was built at an 80 pounds per square foot snow load. And you know, now the snow load is 126, I think. That’s the current snow load. Anyway, it’s totally legal, we just have to watch it carefully.”

Hansen brought in a structural engineer to look at the roof which has flat design on the interior of the building.  Snow sloughs off the edges where the roof is slanted.

“And, he said everything looked great. It wasn’t sagging. But, just because of the weight on there, I just wasn’t comfortable. And, neither was he. He recommended we get the snow off the roof and the ice.  So, that’s what we did.

Hansen says in 2015 right before the school bond failed at the ballot box, they evaluated the seismic integrity of the building by using x-rays to look inside some of the walls.

“The company we had. They went around and did a lot of the bearing walls. And it wasn’t missing a lot of steel, but it was missing a few that made them concerned.”
Hansen says the seismic inspection resulted in recommendations that were cost prohibitive.

“And to go back, it was so expensive, we thought, well let’s replace the building. You know, it’s a fine line and by the time you added up the cost and repair and the electrical and the plumbing and widening the walls and making the halls go around so it was a better flow for the kids."

Hansen says there’s a long-standing stigma that goes along with the Treasure Mountain school, but he says it’s safe.

“I agree, there are some bad parts but it’s a safe building. And, you know, it’s been a sick building, they claim. And I’ve done so much testing over the years. You know, air samples and water and everything you could think of to make sure everything is healthy,l and I have yet to find anything wrong.”

There are seven meetings scheduled in March for the public to give input on the school district master planning process. Go to pcschools.us for details.