For over a year now, we have reported through newsletters, public meetings, the school’s website, and social media that our school has continued to look at the immediate facility needs of the district and to develop a plan that takes that into account as well as how it would affect the district long term. As noted in January, the first on our list now is the Agriculture building. Our insurance company is requiring us to address the structural issues of the front portion of the building. Namely the supports for the roof are disintegrating and the walls cannot support the roof’s weight. In order to fix the existing structure, we would first have to utilize a temporary fix to shore up the roof support at a cost of over $400,000 and within 5 years replace the exterior walls at another high cost. Or we can demo the front portion and then replace it with either a permanent structure, like a pole barn structure for close to half a million dollars. The Board has chosen to replace the front of the ag building with a structure that we can utilize down the road as a bus shop.
In order to pay for this fix, the district has opted to run a building reserve levy, much like we did to fix the roof of the school. The levy would pay for the new Sprung structure, new heating, electrical, and connection to the back of the ag building. We would run a 5 year levy for a total of $350,000, which is $70,000 annually. The district would then get a loan to pay for the facility and use the levy to pay the loan off.
The cost for this is approximately 10.26 mills, or $13.85 annually on a home with a $100,000 market value, $41.55 annually on a home with a $300,000 market value, and $69.25 on a home with a $600,000 market value. An increase in property taxes may lead to an increase in rental costs. This vote will happen on September 19 in our school gym. Absentee ballots will go out at the end of August and need to be returned to Park City Schools by the 19th, either in the mail or dropped off at the district office.
How does $70,000 per year for five years benefit the school and specifically the ag program and FFA in Park City. The $70,000 will be used to make payments on a loan that will enable the school to purchase a Sprung structure for our Ag program. As noted earlier, the front half of our Ag building needs to be removed due to structural issues. The district looked at a number of options and settled on the Sprung style of buildings because of its durability, energy efficiency, and mobility. The Board looked at the possibility of renting the building for five years vs purchasing it, but the cost difference was minimal. One of the best reasons to purchase the structure is that it is movable. So when the district is able to eventually build a new school, the Sprung structure can be moved to either that facility or to the bus barn to be used as a bus shop. That would enable the district the opportunity to sell the current ag building property without losing its investment in this structure. REMEMBER TO VOTE ON SEPTEMBER 19.
The ag program is currently being held in the back half of the ag facility where we usually run our welding program. The front part is being used temporarily for storage as we get ready to clean it out. When the front portion is torn down, we will temporarily lose a classroom, the wood working area, water and bathrooms, and storage. The ag classes will move to the new modular we brought in. Remember, as noted earlier, these new modulars don’t have bathrooms. So students will be traveling between the back half of the ag building to the modular and then to the school building constantly until we are able to put up the Sprung structure.
The new structure, even though it is a moveable structure, will have a new heating system, bathrooms, and a woodworking area, just like a permanent structure would have. Class will still move between the modular and the ag building, depending on what is being taught and how it is being taught as we won’t set up walls to separate out a classroom in the Sprung structure.
Our ag program is a vital program for our school. We have had so many students go through the programs we offer in ag. Many of those have remained in our community and continue to farm, ranch, run businesses, and support our ag and FFA programs. Continuing to provide a safe and modern facility to grow our programs is very important to our school and community.
Why is the school asking for the building reserve levy now? The district realizes that the levy won’t go into effect until the 2024-2025 tax year. But by asking for the levy now the district will be able to borrow the amount needed through the state’s INTERCAP loan program. The district did something similar when we needed to replace the roof on the schools. We ran the levy and used the money to pay off the INTERCAP loan. So when you vote on this issue, realize your taxes won’t be affected for another year. Then starting in fall of 2024 the levy will be on the books for 5 years.