The Wasatch County School Board passed a resolution in Tuesday’s special meeting calling a $150 million bond election for a new high school and to replace the current Midway Elementary school.
After addressing some concerns about the location of the proposed high school and comments from the board the resolution was passed unanimously in the Tuesday evening meeting. The resolution means Wasatch County residents will be voting on whether the $150 million bond passes this November.
School board member Tom Hansen came to the meeting after attending an open house at Midway Elementary. He says the visit continued to confirm his stance that the school needs to be replaced.
“That school stinks of sewer and I smelled it tonight,” Hansen continued. “So, it is true, it's not a lie that the smell exists. The infrastructure is almost 40 years old, and it was built the hold 300 students. There's probably almost 750 that will be there tomorrow morning. I thought that it was something that I can be excited about for the future. Not only for the community, but for the students and the teachers.”
Hansen further said that the new high school is also greatly needed.
“For the High school we’ve done our homework,” Hansen explained. “It's been over the last four months. I know a lot of people may think that that's not enough time, but we are probably in almost a state of emergency when it comes to the amount of crowding that is occurring in that school and will occur over the next three years, four years, by the time it's built. We saw the numbers earlier this morning we're going to have 2,400 students in that school this year. It’s the highest number that we've ever had. They will be spread over the North campus and the West campus and the Main campus. The Freshman and the Sophomores they won’t be able to park on campus, only the juniors and seniors will be able to use the parking lots. The halls, the gyms, common space, the auditorium, cafeteria was built to hold 1,300 kids. There's 1,100 more kids in there right now.”
The District has just over 2,400 students on their records for the high school this fall. Superintendent Paul Sweat says even they were surprised by these numbers.
“If you look at last year, we were at 2,158,” Sweat said. “We anticipated the district going by 300 students, that's the district. This is showing 200, almost 300 kids. Again, to clarify, there will be a number of no shows and we’ll get that final number soon but to think of our high school going from 2,158 into the 2,300 range. We need to get this high school built as soon as we can, or we're going to be in a real bind.”
Board member Tyler Bluth said that splitting the high school was a painful but necessary decision.
“We’re five former Wasatch High guys,” Bluth continued. “The last thing I think we want to do is build something to compete against something that we love as far as Wasatch High School. That’s really what we’re looking at but as President Baird said this is a need. It’s not necessarily a want and we’re doing this right.”