Heber Valley elected officials met with the Wasatch County School Board earlier this month. The officials discussed questions about the $150 million bond the school board is proposing in their board meeting Tuesday night.
In the August 8th Interlocal meeting School District Superintendent Paul Sweat and board members answered questions from elected officials of Midway, Heber and Wasatch County.
Wasatch County Council Member Kendall Crittenden asked the district why they had decided to tear down the old Midway Elementary School while building the new one elsewhere.
Superintendent Paul Sweat explained it was part of a land swap between the school district and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We approached them,” Sweat explained. “That ground wasn't for sale. We didn't see it on the Internet or a sign hanging on it, we simply approached the church and we asked them if we could buy that property for a future site. They liked that property and they weren't really interested in just selling it to us. They did tell us that if we would trade for the land that currently houses the school, that they would be interested in a trade. Because that property is adjacent to some other property they own. Really what it came down to is the current site which includes the current Midway Elementary was used as a bargaining chip to secure the new site on the other side of Michie Lane.”
Crittenden said he understood the need for a new school but expressed that he hates to see a school torn down that could be used in the future.
Sweat responded saying that purchasing property in Midway is difficult for a public entity.
“For us to be able to pick up this 12 acres on the other side of Michie Lane and do it for a much-reduced cost because of the trade, we saw it as a chance to upgrade that school,” Sweat said. “That's the direction we went, and we stand behind that decision. We think it's a sound decision.”
School Board Member Mark Davis added that the current Midway Elementary school has issues with the sewer and cafeteria.
“We’re going to continue at a high rate to put money into this to make the seismic work, to make the sewer work, to make the cafeteria work,” Davis continued. “I think Midway’s been added onto three times. The layout is not optimal. When it was built, the 2nd edition, you know it wasn't built for an addition. I guess we don't see it that way, as a good school to keep going.”
Board member Tom Hanson added that they even held off on a half a million-dollar renovation on the cafeteria because they don’t believe the facility has a shelf life beyond the next five years.