Canyons School District has received the highest possible bond rating of Aaa from Moody’s Investors Service, and a AA+ – the second-highest rating – from Fitch Ratings.
“Moody's Investors Service has assigned an underlying Aaa rating and a stable outlook to Canyons School District,” according to a March 15, 2011 statement from Moody's Investors Service. The rating “incorporates the district's solid financial operations with ample reserves buttressing the district's short operating record, and modest debt profile featuring level taxing rates.”
Canyons voters in June 2010 approved a $250 million bond to renovate or rebuild aging schools, build a new high school in Draper, and forward the District’s efforts to better prepare students for college and careers.
The Canyons Board of Education on March 1, 2011 approved a resolution to authorize the issuance of up to $70 million in bonds to enable the District to break ground this summer on the first five building projects. The projects are the rebuilding 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 bond ratings will help the District secure the lowest possible interest rates on the first bond issuance and ultimately, save taxpayers money.
Read about the Fitch rating on Trading-house.net.
The Board of Education is examining the possibility of partnering with Cottonwood Heights City to redevelop the Mountview Elementary property, to help fund a larger auditorium at the new Butler Middle School, and to create tennis courts on city property adjacent to Cottonwood Heights Elementary. The District is taking bids now to demolish the vacant Mountview Elementary school, and is expected to present recommendations to the Board in its Tuesday, March 22, 2011 meeting.
Under a potential city partnership, the Mountview property could be converted into four soccer fields and other open space, which would help Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center and Salt Lake County accommodate little league football, soccer, and lacrosse during the reconstruction of Butler Middle School and provide community field space afterward. The Board expressed interest in discussing the costs of demolishing the building and adding sod and watering systems, and the terms of a potential partnership with the City and Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center.
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.
Albion Middle School students, faculty, and staff are moving to Cottonwood Heights Elementary School for the 2011-2012 school year to allow Albion to undergo extensive renovations.
Will students have a chance to visit the elementary school before school starts there?
Yes. We have arranged for the following orientation field trips:
Current eighth-graders: May 31
Current seventh-graders: June 1
Current sixth-graders who will become Albion students in the fall will receive the traditional orientation just before school starts in August.
How will our schedule be adjusted to share facilities with Butler Middle School?
We will synch our bell schedule as closely as possible to Butler’s so that we can maximize shared space, and may need to start one period earlier or later than Butler students to avoid traffic problems.
How will the new Butler construction site and skate park be secured?
Both will be secured with fences (the skate park already is fenced), with access to the construction site through the skate park. This means students will not be able to use the path at the south end of the soccer fields to get to Butler Middle for classes.
How will students transport between Cottonwood Heights and Butler for classes? What if a student is injured or otherwise physically unable to walk a long distance? What about inclement weather?
A path between the schools will be created for students. We will purchase umbrellas for students to use during inclement weather, and have arranged for two golf carts to transport students who need assistance.
Can our students participate in high school sports at Brighton if we start at different times?
Yes. Depending on the bell schedule, students participating in Brighton athletics may need PST during seventh period, and spend the class time at Brighton. Students doing so would receive P.E. credit for their athletic participation.
Where will students store their P.E. clothes during the day?
Two portables will be modified to serve as P.E. dressing rooms, one for boys and one for girls. The modified portables will contain a separate teacher’s office and dressing area with hooks on the walls where students can store gym bags.
Where will portables be located?
Five or six portables will be located on the asphalt northeast of the school. Two will be P.E. dressing rooms.
Will the library at Cottonwood Heights have enough room and proper wiring to house our IMC computer lab?
Three classrooms – one each for CTE business and technology classes and another for general student use – and the library will be wired to support computer labs.
Where and when will we hold our evening music, drama and other performances?
Our evening performances will be held in Butler Middle School’s auditorium on Thursday nights.
How many lunch periods will we need?
We will have two lunch periods.
Why will Albion relocate to an elementary school?
The extensive nature of Albion renovations are expected to be too disruptive for students to remain inside the building during construction. In winter 2011, Albion students and faculty overwhelmingly voted to move to the vacant Cottonwood Heights Elementary rather than share the Mount Jordan Middle School facilities during construction, which is expected to span 15 months. Cottonwood Heights Elementary housed Canyons School District administrative offices from January to September 2009, but since has been vacant.
Will Albion be torn down and replaced?
No, exterior walls of the school will remain as they are, with the exception of adding windows in classrooms throughout the building and replacing all exterior doors.
Might classroom space be reduced?
We could have 39 teaching areas in our remodeled building, which is more than adequate to accommodate students, staff and class offerings. The size of the classrooms will not be significantly reduced, and each classroom will have its own door so students will not have to walk through one classroom to get to another. Teaching areas will be designed to increase functionality.
How might the kiva be improved?
The kiva is expected to receive several upgrades, which could include a new HVAC and sound system, a new and enlarged stage floor, and replacement of the carpeting on the walls with something lighter and more attractive. There are not enough funds, however, to make the kiva bigger at this time.
Have interior carpet, bricks and paint colors been selected?
The bricks will stay in the hallways, as they are support walls for the building. However, bricks in other areas of the school could be covered with other materials. The materials shown at Parent Teacher Conferences are examples and suggestions of architects, but they have not been finalized. We are happy to forward your suggestions.
Where might student work be displayed?
The tile mosaics in art hall and in the front hall, which was created by an Albion student the year the school opened, will remain. Display areas for student work and awards and community communications could be created in the proposed commons area. All hallways will have tack strips to display student work.
Might permanent chairs be added to the proposed commons area?
At this time there are no plans for chairs in the commons area; however, chairs could be set up for and taken down after special events.
What is the renovation timeline?
Albion remodeling is expected to begin when school ends in June 2011, and be completed for students to return to the remodeled school in fall 2012.
Will students attending Albion on special permit be able to remain Albion students during the relocation?
Yes. All students currently on permit to Albion are invited to stay with the school throughout the transition. No permits will be taken away from students.
Will permit students be able to access District transportation to Cottonwood Heights Elementary School?
Yes. The District is working to pinpoint a central drop-off point for permit students to catch a bus to and from Cottonwood Heights Elementary.
How will Albion’s start and end times mesh with those of neighboring Butler Middle School and Brighton High School?
The Administration is studying optimal start and end times to best accommodate area traffic. Please check this Web site for updates.
How will the move to an elementary school facility impact class offerings?
We plan to offer during the transition the same classes offered now – plus a few extra electives. Given that Cottonwood Heights Elementary is not a middle school, we will do our best to accommodate courses that require specialized equipment, including sewing, woodshop, and ceramics.
Will the move to an elementary school affect Albion’s staffing ratios?
What renovations will Cottonwood Heights Elementary need to house Albion students?
The school will require a few simple renovations to accommodate Albion students and facilities they need, including gym locker rooms and additional classroom space. Portables will be moved to the campus to accommodate enrollment.
Will lockers be installed?
No. Classrooms at Cottonwood Heights are large enough to accommodate backpack storage during class time. Students will be asked to carry school materials in backpacks, and teachers will be sensitive to student loads when issuing homework assignments.
How will my child access LDS Seminary during Released Time?
Seminary staff say they are working with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to ensure students have access to facilities for Released Time. Please check this Web site for updates.
How will the transition impact the USTAR summer math classes?
USTAR summer math classes will be offered beginning in the summer of 2011 to provide extra help to students who need it. We are working to determine the location of the classes during the transition.
Will students have a chance to visit the elementary school before school starts there?
Yes. We are working on school-wide orientation times before school starts in fall 2011. Please check this site for updated information.
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 Board of Education voted Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011 to build a grades K-5 elementary school on the Midvale Middle School campus. The vote determines the site of the rebuilt Midvale Elementary School will be on the nearby middle school campus, and allows students to remain in their current elementary school during construction. It also frees up the now vacant Cottonwood Heights Elementary School to be used to house Albion Middle School students during its extensive renovation project. The Board is expected to vote on the timeline of the projects in the March 1 meeting.
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.