Salt Lake City School District to conduct feasibility study on 2 high schools

Jul 9, 2022, 8:30 PM
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Highland High School in Salt Lake City is pictured on Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. (Kristin Murphy, KSL, File)
(Kristin Murphy, KSL, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two high schools in the Salt Lake City School District are going to be closely examined by district leaders to determine what improvements may be needed. The district is in the process of a hiring an architect to do a feasibility study on West and Highland high schools.

Feasibility study

“We are hiring someone to take a look at the buildings and help us figure out how to best meet student needs in those buildings,” said Yàndry Chatwin, a spokesperson for the Salt Lake City School District, to KSL NewsRadio.

Chatwin acknowledges that it is likely that the study will require both schools to be rebuilt.

“We want to make sure that we are doing that in a way that is fiscally responsible,” Chatwin said. 

Chatwin says the district has some of the oldest schools in the state. 

“A lot of our buildings are getting up there in age,” she said. “And really need to be taken a look at.”

Chatwin says the schools in the district have been retrofitted for earthquakes. However, she acknowledges the schools may not be up to par in other areas.

“We want to make sure we are providing our students the best facilities, in which to learn,” she said.

As for the timeline, Chatwin says West High is a further ahead in the process than Highland High. She says interviews are currently being conducted for the feasibility study at West, which should last a couple more weeks. Bids for the feasibility study at Highland are still being accepted.

Support of taxpayers?

However, all of this is dependent on the support of Salt Lake City taxpayers in the form of a bond. Chatwin points out that the school board hasn’t sought a bond from taxpayers since the 1990s.

Additionally, Chatwin says part of the purpose of the feasibility study is to make sure the district isn’t asking for more money than what it needs.

If the study finds that the schools must be rebuilt, it’s likely they will be built on the same piece of property.

“It allows us to be fiscally responsible by using the land we already have,” Chatwin said.

West is considered to be iconic by many who attended school there. Chatwin says that will be taken into consideration during the study. 

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Salt Lake City School District to conduct feasibility study on 2 high schools