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Front Page » November 20, 2007 » Local News » School district gives building to Sunnyside
Published 2,880 days ago

School district gives building to Sunnyside

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Construction work on Petersen Elementary School was underway in the fall of 2002 when it was discovered the foundation had problems. Now, based on a decision of the Carbon School Board last week, the building is going to be transferred to the ownership of Sunnyside City to be used as a community center.

City will use old facility for a new community center

On Wednesday night the Carbon School District Board of Education decided that they would give final approval to award the Petersen Elementary school building to Sunnyside City so the town can use it as a community center.

The board voted unanimously to give the school to the city, but there were certain conditions that had to be met, including state statutes that only allow the district to do so if they are getting something in return.

"We are addressing the value of the building to them in what it would have cost us to demolish it," said Carbon District Superintendent Patsy Bueno. "That is what we are getting for the building and property."

The district also has another dilemma; an unexpected one. The new Bruin Point Elementary, which was built on the grounds of the old East Carbon High School, is over crowded and there is no room for the pre-school the district has in the area.

Consequently the pre-school has still been meeting in Petersen, while plans to move it are being made.

"We need to get them out of Petersen, but we have to come up with a plan to house them somewhere at Bruin," said board member Ruby Cordova. "Maybe we could house them in the gym or in the library."

Scouts present the flag during a ceremony at Petersen Elementary in 2002. Once a school filled with kids the building will now become the community center for Sunnyside and once again will host events, community meetings and other activities for the town now that the Carbon Board of Education has given it's approval to the transfer of the facility.

But Bueno pointed out that those areas are already committed and that another alternative will have to be found.

"We don't have any room for support staff in the building now," she told the board. "Students are using the library continually and the music teacher is teaching violin in the gym. We may have to look at a portable classroom for the grounds of the school."

The students and staff moved from the old school to the new one this past summer and began classes in August. Since then, other than the pre-school the building has remained empty.

The present school building in Sunnyside was named for Carl Werner "Stubby" Petersen when the school was built in 1954. Petersen was originally from Michigan, played football for East High School and was a halfback at Utah State University. He came to Carbon County to be a coach at Carbon High, where he had a good reputation for working with the students. During his years in Carbon County Petersen was involved in many civic organizations.

He was a member of the chamber of commerce and the county school board and served as Utah State University Trustee for a time. He died in 1982.

Two years ago the decision was made not to name the new school after a person and a contest was held in which the community came up with the name Bruin Point Elementary. There was some controversy in the community over doing away with the old building because in recent years the district had invested a lot of money in it because of some foundation problems.

But when East Carbon High was demolished the board decided that the community needed a modern up-to-date facility and Bruin Point was constructed.

"The idea of a portable classroom for Bruin Point should be on the agenda at a future date," said board president Grady McEvoy. "To keep Petersen Elementary would be an expensive endeavor for the school district, because of the maintenance and utility issues. I think we should work with Sunnyside City concerning keeping the pre-school in the building until we can solve that situation."

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