Alpine School District exploring potential closure of 5 elementary schools
Mar 29, 2023, 6:20 AM | Updated: Oct 26, 2023, 1:14 pm
(Alpine School District via YouTube)
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AMERICAN FORK — As the doors of five elementary schools in Alpine School District may be closing for good at the end of the school year due to seismic concerns, some parents at a meeting on Tuesday expressed fears about their children’s educational future.
“Knowing there’s going to be another elementary school built in southwest Lehi at some point in the near future, I believe the less we shift these children around, the better,” Amanda McAllister, whose child attends Lehi Elementary — which is among those slated for closure — told the Alpine Board of Education.
Utah County voters in November voted against a proposed $595 million bond that would’ve gone toward building new schools and repairing existing ones in the district.
During the district’s Nov. 29 board meeting following the election, the board requested a districtwide boundary study to explore possibilities around restructuring or consolidating boundaries and evaluating school buildings, said David Stephenson, executive director of external relations and communications for the district.
In early December, the district sent a letter to parents notifying them that since the proposed bond failed, they would be initiating a boundary study.
Notably, Stephenson said that the buildings the district aimed to address through the bond funds are all on the Utah K-12 Public Schools Unreinforced Masonry Inventory, making the buildings seismically unsafe in the event of what some experts say is a looming earthquake.
The results of the boundary study proposed that Lehi, Valley View, Lindon, Windsor and Sharon elementary schools — all of which are in the unreinforced masonry inventory — be considered for closure.
“This was based on, again, they’re older schools and they’re on that seismic unreinforced masonry inventory,” Stephenson said. “In addition, we looked at neighboring schools and whether or not there was space available if we were to do some consolidations and boundary adjustments for these students to be able to be assimilated into neighboring schools.”