Salt Lake City School District to Conduct Feasibility Study of 2 High Schools

Highland High School in Salt Lake City is pictured Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (Kristin Murphy, KSL, File)

(Kristin Murphy, KSL, file)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two high schools in Salt Lake City School District will be closely reviewed by district leaders to determine what improvements may be needed. The district is in the process of hiring an architect to do a feasibility study on West and Highland High Schools.

Feasibility study

“We’re hiring someone to take a look at the buildings and help us figure out the best way to meet the needs of the students in those buildings,” said Yàndry Chatwin, spokesperson for the Salt Lake City School District, at KSL NewsRadio.

Chatwin acknowledges that the study is likely to require the two schools to be rebuilt.

“We want to make sure we do it in a fiscally responsible way,” Chatwin said.

Chatwin says the district has some of the oldest schools in the state.

“A lot of our buildings are aging,” she said. “And you really have to take a look at it.”

Chatwin says schools in the district have been retrofitted for earthquakes. However, she acknowledges that schools may fall short in other areas.

“We want to make sure that we give our students the best facilities to learn,” she said.

As for the timeline, Chatwin says West High is further along in the process than Highland High. She says talks are currently being held for the feasibility study in West, which is expected to last a few more weeks. Bids for the feasibility study at Highland are still being accepted.

Taxpayer support?

However, all of this depends on the support of Salt Lake City taxpayers in the form of a bond. Chatwin points out that the school board has not asked for taxpayer bonds since the 1990s.

Additionally, Chatwin says part of the purpose of the feasibility study is to make sure the district isn’t asking for more money than it needs.

If the study concludes that the schools need to be rebuilt, it is likely that they will be built on the same land.

“It allows us to be fiscally responsible using the land we already have,” Chatwin said.

West is considered iconic by many who attended school there. Chatwin says that will be taken into consideration during the study.

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