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NEBO CHANGES RENOVATION OF SCHOOL INTO DEMOLITION

Nebo School District officials will have to build at least one more school than they planned this year.

Crews will shortly complete demolition of Taylor Elementary School, 40 S. 500 West, Payson. In its place, district officials hope to have a new 10,000-square-foot elementary, perhaps by the start of the next school year.Nebo officials originally planned to renovate the school - which is one of the two oldest schools in the district - and repair significant structural damage in the original section and the roof.

However, a recent inspection by an architect and a structural engineer revealed even more serious safety concerns in the school's 45-year-old addition.

"Once we got inside the newer old section of the school, we found out it wasn't built right," said Phil Argyle, Nebo's operations director. "With the way it was constructed, it's really a wonder it has stood as long as it has."

For example, walls in the addition include adobe surrounded by brick faces, with no ties and beams to join walls or ceilings.

"The whole thing is sitting together because of its weight," Argyle said.

This spring, voters in the Nebo District approved a $30 million general obligation bond issue - and a subsequent $54 property tax increase - to pay for new school construction and extensive districtwide renovations. Included in those renovations was a $1 million project to tear down the 70-year-old section of Taylor Elementary.

Work on the Taylor renovation began this fall. During the wrecking, Nebo leaders asked local architect Kevin Madson to survey the old Taylor addition. Madson's inspection, as well as one by structural engineer George Hansen, uncovered the problems.

Consequently, this week members of the Nebo School Board approved complete demolition of Taylor School and using the renovation funds to build a new school from the existing ground up.

"It actually would have wound up costing more to bring the school up to safety codes than building a new school," Argyle said.

Since the start of the current school year, students at Taylor have been attending classes in the old Payson Middle School, which is located across from Payson City Park, Taylor Principal Lynette Neff said.

District officials had planned on closing that school when the new middle school opened this year but will continue to lease the building from Payson City until the new school is ready.

Nebo officials originally thought of closing Taylor Elementary and Rees Elementary in Spanish Fork after they had to close some of the schools' classrooms to clear off snow from sagging roofs in 1993.

Eventually, those leaders opted to renovate the two schools, and the Rees renovation - including putting on a new roof - was completed before the new school year began.