The Board of Education on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 received design proposals for Butler Middle School that will be presented to the school’s Design Committee. Proposed designs include separate wings for all grades, including placing the sixth grade on the second level to address parent concerns with grade reconfiguration. The gym would have an exterior entrance leading to the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, which provides P.E. opportunities for students. The building would contain several windows for natural light throughout. The auditorium also would have an exterior entrance and a plaza area. Parking would accommodate 420 vehicles – more than double the current parking slots. Green space would be nearly 2 additional acres larger than the current configuration, and include three regulation-sized fields for soccer and lacrosse. The auditorium would seat 1,000; Cottonwood Heights City has expressed interest in shouldering costs to make it bigger. The Board accepted the information. The plans, as soon as they are completed and presented to the Board of Education and Administration, may be featured on the Web site to reach a broad audience.
The Board of Education on Tuesday, March 1 unanimously voted to stay the course on its Phase 1 bond building schedule, targeting a fall 2013 completion date for the first five projects, by using some of the District’s capital fund balance.
The Board approved a resolution to authorize the issuance of up to $70 million in bonds, as originally planned, to enable the District to break ground on all five Phase 1 projects this summer. The five projects are the rebuild of Midvale Elementary and Butler Middle School; a seismic retrofit for Sandy Elementary, a renovation of Albion Middle School and the building of a new high school in Draper.
Instead of issuing a second round of bonds next spring, the District will use money from the capital fund balance, which is an account dedicated to building projects. The District anticipates issuing additional bonds and beginning the remaining eight projects when assessed valuation improves and when old Jordan debt begins to substantially tail off.
The plan accomplishes several goals. It keeps intact the target fall 2013 completion date for the first five projects. It allows grade reconfiguration to move forward in fall 2013 as part of the District’s college- and career-ready academic plan. It also allows the Board to keep its promise to the public not to raise its debt service levy when voters approved the $250 million bond in June 2010.
Board members noted they have been talking about addressing building issues for the past two years, and praised the plan as a well thought out solution and first step in addressing the District’s $650 million in critical building needs.
Two weeks ago, the Board discussed building schedule options for the first five bond projects after learning property values are expected to decline for the third consecutive year. Declining property values would impact Canyons’ ability to collect sufficient tax revenue from its existing debt service levy to pay for the principal and interest on the total amount of new bonds needed to proceed with its current timeline. The Board had looked at the possibility of delaying projects one year or funding one or two projects at this time.
The Canyons Board of Education is discussing building schedule options for the first five bond projects after learning property values are expected to decline again this year. This would be the third consecutive year of property value declines, unprecedented in recent memory. Declining property values would impact Canyons’ ability to collect sufficient tax revenue to pay for the principal and interest on new bonds on its current timeline without a tax increase. The District also is legally bound to continue its payments on $213 million in old Jordan debt.
The Board noted it promised the public that its debt service levy would not be raised if voters approved the $250 million bond in June 2010, and remain committed to that pledge. In light of the financial projections, the Board discussed possible actions, including delaying all projects one year for a target fall 2014 completion and grade reconfiguration date; funding one or two projects at this time; or staying the course on all five projects in hopes of an economic rebound.
The five projects are: the rebuild of Midvale Elementary and Butler Middle School; a seismic retrofit for Sandy Elementary, a renovation of Albion Middle School and the building of a new high school in Draper. The current timeline would have the first five projects completed by fall 2013 to facilitate grade reconfiguration under the District’s career- and college-ready academic plan.
The Board will vote on the projects’ timeline in its March 1 meeting.
Following 14 different drafts, and several meetings with a “Blue Sky” school-based committee and the School Community Council, the Board of Education on Tuesday, Jan. 18 approved a Butler Middle School site plan that would rebuild the school adjacent to the current building. The plan addresses community input by adding three acres of contiguous fields and tennis courts accessible to Brighton High; allows Butler students to stay put during construction; and maintains a campus environment with its proximity to the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center. Board members noted they would work with Parks and Recreation to ease impacts on little league football and soccer games during the transition. They also noted their action enables additional community input on how the school should be designed to meet the needs of the community, be they in technology, classroom space, or traffic flow and parking. They invited the public to the first Town Hall Meeting on the building designs, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20, at 6 p.m. at the Butler Middle School Auditorium.