PARK CITY — 20 years ago, the Park City school district bought a large piece of land a couple of blocks away from its current building, figuring the community was going to grow. The current administration says the time to use it is now, with a new $16.745 million bond up for vote.
"We’ve held on to that property for future change, knowing that this building continues to age," said Park City superintendent Dan Grabowska, standing in front of the current K-12 building.
This will be the third time Grabowska has asked for a bond. The first one in 2015 was a building remodel.
"It failed by about 53-54 votes, so it was very close," Grabowska said. "The second one we did was six years ago. It was a different concept, and it failed miserably."
This will be the largest of the three bonds. The money will build a brand new 7-12 grade school on the new property and remodel parts of the existing building, where the K-6 grades will remain. One of the keys is bigger classrooms.
"These were built in the 1970's at 600–700 square feet. That's pretty small for 30 kids," Grabowska said. "We're looking for 800-900 square-foot classrooms."
Another key is a much larger gym, with the Class C Panthers moving up to Class B in 2023.
"Right now, we have seating of 350-400 for our gym, and they all have 1500-2000 seating," Grabowska said. "This would be a 900-1000 seat gym.
"The problem is, there’s not a lot of business in the community. It’s all houses."
Gordon Hirschi dropped off his ballot to the school Monday - eight days ahead of the May 3rd deadline - and he’s always had the same concern.
"I voted against them because it increases my taxes," Hirschi said.
If passed, the bond will cost a Park City homeowner with a $200,000 home $529.15 per year for the next 25 years.
"We're getting taxed to death," he said.
Hirschi admits Park City is growing as people look to move away from state urban centers,
"We have several subdivisions of homes being built where I live," he said. "There's definitely an increase in children, but I think there are better ways that we can do rather than the property owners."
"That's the tricky part of the bond," Grabowska responded. "We don’t have the luxury of having a refinery or something like that in town to help out."
But Grabowska is more confident this time than ever.
"We've gotten lots of public input on developing the ideas, so it's not just this small committee or the administration or the board creating it," he said. "It's been a lot of public input.
"I just know that it's up to the voters, and I don't have a lot of say other than to provide as much information as possible. But I’m feeling good."