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Canyons District to ask voters to bond for $283 million to build schools

SANDY — Hillcrest High School and Brighton High School would be rebuilt along with Union Middle School and four elementary schools under a $283 million bond proposal approved Tuesday by the Canyons Board of Education.

The Canyons School Board voted 6-1 to adopt a resolution to place the general obligation bond issue on the Nov. 7 ballot.

According to school district documents, estimated cost for the new high schools would be $85 million to $87 million each.

The proposed bond would fund reconstruction of West Draper, White City, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementary schools at a projected cost of $20 million each.

In a statement, School Board President Sherril Taylor said the "list of construction priorities will have us turning dirt in every part of Canyons District."

"While we think our track-record speaks for itself, we reiterate our pledge to provide modern and safe schools for our community while also serving as conscientious stewards of taxpayer dollars," Taylor said.

The school district describes the bond proposal as "tax rate neutral," meaning bond payments will be layered into the district's outstanding debt.

Annual property taxes on a residence valued at $373,000 would be $118 a year or $215 for a business of the same valuation. The bond would be repaid over 20 years.

Among the schools selected for rebuilds, Midvalley Elementary School is 60 years old. Hillcrest High School is 55 years old while Brighton is 48 years old.

Taylor said he believes the voters - based on results of recent Dan Jones & Associates survey of 1,200 residents that showed 54 percent of patrons polled would support a new bond - is due to the board fulfilling the commitments of the previous bond.

But board member Chad Iverson, who voted against placing the issue on the ballot, said patrons of Crescent View Middle School, who believed the school would be remodeled under the former bond, did not share that feeling.

Taylor said instead of renovating the school, a new middle school was built in Draper.

"The community did get a school, not a remodeled school but a brand new school. It was the feeling of the board it was honored," Taylor said.

Other projects that would be addressed under the proposed bond include a $38.5 million renovation of Alta High School; constructing new wings at Corner Canyon High School, which opened in 2013, for an estimated cost of $4.5 million and office upgrades at six elementary schools budgeted at a total of $2.7 million.

The general-obligation bond would also cover upgrades at 18 elementary schools that would bring in natural light from windows and skylights, at a projected cost about $3.1 million.

The lighting upgrades would be conducted at Altara, Brookwood, Canyon View, Crescent, East Sandy, Granite, Oakdale, Park Lane, Quail Hollow, Ridgecrest, Silver Mesa, Sprucewood and Sunrise elementary schools. Upgrades are also planned for selected rooms at Bell View, East Midvale, Lone Peak, Oak Hollow and Willow Springs elementary schools.

The school district's facility needs were identified in a 2010 architectural review of all of Canyons School District buildings. Later that year - the year after creation of the school district - voters approved a $250 million bond that included 13 projects.

Among those, two rebuilds, Midvale Middle School and Alta View Elementary School, opened recently. Renovation at Indian Hills Middle School, the final project funded under the 2010 bond, is underway.

Several board members who have attended open houses at the new schools said their construction demonstrated to children that the school district and patrons support them.

"We have high expectations. We do believe in them and we're investing in them," said board member Nancy Tingey.