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Park City School District Seeks Sustainability with Master Plan Proposal

Image of the entrance into Park City High School
Park City High School

The Park City Board of Education is moving closer to a decision on seeking a possible $129 million school bond for voters to approve or reject on Nov. 2. The board plans to vote on it at its Tuesday, Aug. 17 meeting.


Utah law requires bond referendum decisions to be made 75 days before election day. This year that deadline is Aug.19, so the Park City School District must decide it’s going to seek a bond, and finalize an amount and ballot language, by then. 


The board may pursue a combination of a general obligation bond, a lease revenue bond, capital reserves, or private donations to use as funding sources to pay for the school expansion costs in the district’s master plan. 


That plan includes expanding the high school to accommodate 9th grade, moving 8th grade to an expanded Ecker Hill Middle School, expanding all four elementary schools to offer universal Pre-K and before- and after-school services at two of the elementary schools.


In its June meeting, the school board determined that the $24 million proposed price tag of green building initiatives, like LEED certification, would not be fiscally responsible. However, vice president Wendy Crossland said the board is committed to sustainability practices presented by school district students earlier in the master planning process. She is working with district operations to craft a resolution endorsing clean energy goals and green building practices.


"Our goal is to build towards the LEED Silver standard, and whether or not that certification process we pay for, which is costly and our fiduciary duty, we don't want to spend money on unnecessary things,” she said. “So we have every intention of building towards that certification, whether or not we have the certificate on the wall or not. What happened with the resolution brought to us is not that we are not in alignment and committed to clean energy. We have a responsibility to and a duty to the sustainability in this master plan. We have duties beyond sustainability. We are working on a resolution that includes a more embedded and specific to Park City School District plan, for our master plan that leans in very heavily to clean energy."


Park City and Summit County invested in a renewable grid consortium. Park City School District Chief Operations Officer Mike Tanner said House Bill 411 allows the district to purchase energy from the consortium.


"And as soon as we can purchase clean energy off of that availability, we were planning on doing that. We felt that was the biggest step we could take and would get us about probably 80% towards our sustainability goals."


Tanner said the building expansions would also meet aggressive efficiency standards, and eventually, the district would transition its fleet of diesel buses to electric vehicles.


The school board meets Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 4 p.m. at the district offices on Kearns Boulevard.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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