BRIGHAM CITY – By Marcia Wendorf – March 13, 2020
The Box Elder School District's board meeting on Wednesday, March 11, featured the resignation of long-serving board member Lynn Capener who represented District 1. Capener was presented with an old-fashioned school bell in recognition of his service.
Replacing Capener is Tiffany Summers, who received the oath of office. Summers is a former teacher, the mother of three children and an advocate for public education. She was raised in Tremonton and attended Bear River High School.
Discussed at the meeting was the proposed closure of Mountain View and Foothill Elementary schools on the east side of Brigham City as well as the building of a new school on the site of the old Bunderson School, located between 200 and 300 N., just east of 600 E. in Brigham City.
April's board meeting will be an official public hearing on the new school and May's meeting will include the vote on the project.
Corey Thompson, BESD Facilities Director, said that eight architects have submitted proposals for the new school, and that the selection team had narrowed them down to five firms, whom they have interviewed.
Chosen to be the architect for the new school is VCBO Architecture, based in Salt Lake City. Thompson said that the firm has designed many schools within Utah and within the BESD.
Two possible designs for the new school were displayed, one horseshoe shaped and one rectangular. Several sizes for the new school were discussed, ranging from 800 students to 1,000. It was decided that members from the School Community Council would be added to the design team for the new school.
The next step is to establish the fees to be paid to the architect. Thompson also discussed capital improvements, which include the maintenance of facilities within the district. Last year, the district spent $2.3 million because they re-grouted two of the district's swimming pools. For the upcoming year, they have budgeted $1.9 million in order to give them a slight cushion.
Thompson said that the district is looking at expanding and resealing school parking lots. The point was made that there is never enough parking, especially at night when sports, theatrical, or parent-teacher conferences take place.
Board member Connie Archibald said they need more parking at Bear River High School and often people are forced to park on the street. Corey Thompson made the point that both the high school and the Natatorium are landlocked, and that with any parking lot expansion, they're trying not to infringe on the soccer field.
Mike Clark presented the school board with an EPA Energy Star plaque as a result of the district's superior energy efficiency. To receive the award, each school must perform at 75% or above when compared to similar buildings. Clark said that last year the District saved $1.2 million in energy costs and cut its energy consumption by 13.4%.
In a non-unanimous vote, the board approved school fees for the 2020-2021 school year.
Superintendent Steven E. Carlsen made the point that if, due to the COVID -19 or coronavirus outbreak, the economy suffers a serious downturn, it will have an effect on the amount of tax dollars that the district receives.
However, Utah is in the good position of having a "rainy day fund" of "up to several hundred million dollars" which could be used during the coronavirus outbreak, he added.
Finally, extending all-day kindergarten was discussed, with the only impediment being a lack of space. This is not an urgent problem since kindergarten in Utah is not compulsory.
The next Box Elder School board meeting will be held Wednesday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m.