In 2019, the Park City School District budgeted $1.5 million to hire an architect to flesh out the facilities costs for the new master planning directives. After more than a year of stakeholder input into the district’s master planning process.
Park City School District Business Administrator Todd Hauber says the master planning recommendation includes three priority initiatives. They include grade realignment that would bring 9th grade into the high school, combine 6th through 8th grades into one or two middle schools, and providing universal pre-k in Park City.
Hauber says they put out a statement of interest qualifications known as an SOIQ and they are currently negotiating with a bond architect firm that would provide designs, building schematics and a price tag for new or expanded school facilities.
“So that’s the first part of the process is we put the invitation out and they respond, and we look at those responses to see who is qualified to do the work we're asking for. We have concluded that first step which is we have qualified the firms who have responded.”
The school board is expecting the selection committee to identify a bond architect in the next couple of months.
“The second step that’s in statute then is that you take that list of qualified architects, in this case rank them in priority order and then begin negotiations with the top-ranking firm.”
Hauber admits they are in a time crunch because if the school board decides to put a bond on the November 2020 ballot, they’ll have to inform the public in July. Although he says a bond is not a certainty.
“It might send a message, it's a foregone conclusion. We're going to bond, that may be one of the solutions, but it's not the only debt instrument that we can get into from the services we’re receiving.”
Hauber says school districts commonly use a bond architect before seeking a bond initiative at the ballot box. The company that wins the Park City School District contract will take all the options of the master planning effort to a design phase that will include schematics and a cost breakdown. Hauber says this process gives the community more details if the school board decides to pursue a bond referendum.
“So, when we wrote the SOIQ it was with the most rigorous financing process in mind which is trying to issue a general obligation bond. We knew that if we could meet all of those deadlines of that financing strategy, we could do any other financing strategy because they are less rigorous in their deadlines and timelines.”