East Carbon, district officials discuss school building plans
Superintendent David Armstrong appeared before the East Carbon council on May 9 to give an overview of the school situation in the city.
The school district superintendent presented the council with a copy of the architectural outline for an elementary building to be built at the site of East Carbon High.
Construction will begin on the elementary building in the summer as demolition of the high school is in progress.
"We will not demolish your old school without beginning the new one," pointed out Armstrong.
The new elementary would be the showcase school for the district.
"This will be the newest and most high-tech school in the district," continued Armstrong. "And we expect it to be the highest achieving school in the district."
The superintendent highlighted the high-tech features and teaching aids planned for the school.
The superintendent also introduced Melissa Hamilton, who will be the principal of the elementary school.
"This is a great opportunity and we will have the best test scores in this district," commented Hamilton.
The building will have 20,918 square feet of floor space, complete with a large gymnasium and an open cafeteria area. The new school will have the latest security features and computer equipment.
The gymnasium will have a wireless microphone system and surround sound acoustics.
The gym will also have a rubberized coating instead of the traditional hardwood flooring.
The parking lot and bus loading and unloading areas have been re-designed.
In addition, room to expand the elementary school building if needed in the future is built into the architectural plan.
The cost of constructing the elementary school is projected to be $3.7 million.
Armstrong indicated that the building will be ready for occupancy by the 2007-2008 school year.
East Carbon students will spend one more year at Petersen Elementary before transferring to the new school.
"We can't transfer the Petersen Elementary name to the new school," noted Armstrong.
The state has a policy of not naming schools after individuals, said Armstrong. The name of the new elementary school should reflect the community and the district is open to suggestions.
Addressing a question about demolition costs, Armstrong said the district expected to pay $265,000 to tear down the high school building.
District officials studied the possibility of saving the high school gymnasium, continued the superintendent. But heating and air conditioning system issues made the proposal too costly.
The gymnasium in the elementary school will be about the same size as the one being demolished, said Armstrong.
When asked if the school district had plans for the Petersen Elementary building, Armstrong said no decision has been made regarding the matter.
The district will decide what to do with the building after the conclusion of the next school year.
The issue of allowing law enforcement officials to do terrorist training in the old high school before it is torn down was brought up again.
Armstrong and Mayor Orlando LaFontaine said allowing the training would be a good thing for the school district.
It was pointed out that the building would provide a realistic setting to train local law enforcement personnel in how to respond to an emergency in district schools.
Other East Carbon City councilmembers spoke in favor of allowing the law enforcement training to proceed at the high school building.
Approaching the city council, Chief Sam Leonard gave a report on the status of the East Carbon police department.
The report included an overview of personnel matters and the need to hire an additional officer for the force.
Leonard has been working with the mayor on acquiring $140,000 for the department through a United States Department of Agriculture rural development grant. The monies would be used to purchase patrol cars and equipment for the police department.
In councilmember reports, Joyce Caviness said the city is planning to start a historical society. The first organizational meeting will be May 11 at 6 p.m. at the city hall.
In addition, Caviness also said the community is looking for a new city logo to be used officially by East Carbon. She asked for suggestions from the community.
Councilman Dave Maggio reported about recent meetings with ECDC officials regarding promised scholarships for East Carbon graduating seniors.
Maggio said the meetings are ongoing and things are still being worked out.
Councilman Joe Manley said the dam at the reservoir is being monitored regularly. The water level is being maintained below the spillway as suggested by state officials.
No additional problems have been identified at the dam site in recent weeks.
In conclusion, the mayor reviewed the recent meetings with Utah Department of Transportation officials about the ongoing issue of the East Carbon road junction at U.S. Highway 6.
It was pointed out that new reflectors had been placed at the dangerous road intersection, but they were installed facing the wrong direction.
LaFontaine said the problem is being addressed.