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New Park City School District sports complex could mean tax increase

The design for the $7 million plan to build two new baseball and softball fields behind Treasure Mountain Junior High presented to the Park City Board of Education Tuesday.
Park City School District
The design for the $7 million plan to build two new baseball and softball fields behind Treasure Mountain Junior High presented to the Park City Board of Education Tuesday.

The Park City School District is considering a potential overhaul of its athletic facilities. A bond may be needed to pay for it.

The Park City Board of Education saw details for a new athletic master plan at its meeting Tuesday.

According to estimates provided by a consultant, the first phase would cost $7 million and would involve building two new synthetic turf fields for baseball and softball behind Treasure Mountain Junior High. The two teams were forced to practice and play off campus most of last season because of snow.

School board member Andrew Caplan said he wanted to see more data about field use before making a multi-million-dollar decision.

“I totally agree we need baseball facilities, but for $7 million as a phase one, I just don’t understand why we’re prioritizing two sports that are very, very low in terms of relative participation," Caplan said. "We have turf fields, people can play on turf fields even if they’re not lined correctly, or at least practice. There’s other solutions to that versus spending $7 million.” 

Board member Anne Peters agreed they should take a step back before making any big moves.

“I say scrap the two teams until we have a facility that can actually support them,” Peters said.

No one else voiced support to end the baseball and softball programs. Around 120 students participate in the two sports at Park City High School.

Aging Treasure Mountain Junior High will be empty after next school year, when the district transfers students elsewhere. The school board is considering its options for the property.

On Tuesday the board saw broader plans to build a sports complex on the Treasure Mountain site in addition to the baseball and softball fields. That would include two rectangular fields and tennis courts along with support buildings and enhanced parking. That price tag is over $20 million.

Park City School District Business Administrator Randy Upton said it could be paid for through a lease revenue bond, which doesn’t require voter approval but would raise taxes.

Board member Nick Hill also stressed the need to delay moving forward and gather more input.

“It has to be a community conversation,” Hill said. “I understand the community said, ‘We want athletics facilities.’ Did they understand when they said that, that we were going to raise their taxes and say, ‘This is actually how much it’s going to cost you?’”

However, during public comment, the wife of a Park City High baseball coach, Sarah Elder, urged the board to continue with the plan.

“The upgrade of our athletic facilities is not just an improvement, it’s a necessity,” Elder said. “We have the responsibility to provide the best for our students to prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow.”

The board delayed any action Tuesday, and scheduled a work session Aug. 20 to discuss the future athletics plan in detail.

Park City School District Chief Operating Officer Mike Tanner said the delay means any new facilities for baseball or softball are unlikely next season.