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PCSD Moves Forward With School Bond Initiative After No One Comments During Public Hearing

PCSD. Andrew Caplan discussed the PCSD bond during a conversation with KPCW

The Park City Board of Education held a public hearing Tuesday night seeking input on the $79.2 million school bond scheduled to run on November's ballot. It was a quiet night.

The goal of the special hearing was to elicit public input on the school bond – but no one gave any. 

School board member Andrew Caplan said he is confident in the process used to develop the master plan over the past four years.  The master plan includes moving 9th grade to the high school, expanding Ecker Hill to a 6th through 8th-grade middle school, and providing universal PreK in each of the district's four elementary schools.
Caplan said he was not too surprised to receive no public comment during the hearing since the plans grew out of thousands of hours of public input.

"This master planning process, which of course includes the school bond as well as some alternative financing sources, has been a lengthy process. It's involved the public all along the way, most of the folks who follow education in town and you know have interest in the bond, have been participating in this process for the past three years, teachers, students, parents, community members,  and the facilities reflect the community's interest."

The board ratified the MHTN Architects contract to begin planning the phased expansion of the high school. It also unanimously approved a contract with Hughes BCBO for PreK expansions in the elementary schools.

Park City Business Administrator Todd Hauber said the bond language, planning details, and voter information are on the school district's website.

"So, we're right at the threshold of that right now and awarding that contract. So, I put those notices out last night to the firms. We'll be meeting with them either the end of this week or the start of next week to open up contract negotiations. And the first step is the predesign work. So, we'll have our stakeholder meetings and things of that nature to make sure that the projects are still filled out the way they were envisioned."

Hauber said they want to phase all the projects to minimize learning disruption and meet their goals to have all the projects finished by the 3rd quarter of 2024.

"So, what we have in place right now with Hogan and MH TN is a limited scope contract which is basically this predesign work. Knowing that we want to have all of these projects done by the third quarter of 2024, we have to start the design work now in order to meet that deadline. And so, we just have a limited scope. There's limited exposure to expense till we get to the bond, and then we'll see what the outcome of the bond presents to us."

The $30 million Ecker Hill Middle School Project is also in a phased planning mode.

"That project, in particular, is designed to be financed through an alternative fighting financing structure, so it doesn't have the same constraints in place but will keep the two projects moving in parallel with each other."

Voters within the Park City School District boundaries will vote on the school bond November 2. You can find a link to the bond details here.

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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