By Julie Johansen
The Emery School Board met on Thursday, March 25 in a crowded room full of citizens to discuss the bid for phase one of the building and grounds at Emery High School and Ferron Elementary.
The bid from Westland Construction came in $1.5 million more than the original estimate. The contractor supervisor, Trent Huntsman, assured the board that the reason for the overage was the escalation in material costs for the building projects since the first estimate. The labor costs had remained steady. The MAC architect, Wes Christensen, assured them that the planned construction was adequate and substantial but not elaborate.
At Emery High, phase one will include the ball fields, field house, parking lots, track surfacing, bleachers and landscaping, as well as infrastructure for these places.
The school board was very concerned about where to get the extra money without cutting into the district’s rainy day fund. One consideration was to delete the field house from the plans to conserve money. Some of the their comments included that they were the board of education, not recreation.
This alternative to the original plan was met with plenty of opposition. Concerned citizens, coaches and teachers were not happy with this possible solution. Some comments included that the affirmative vote for the bond was because of the original design presented to the voters before the election. Many commented that they felt the uses of the field house were important to the community as well as the school.
After much consideration and collaboration, Emery School District Business Administrator Jackie Allred reported that she had contacted their auditor that day and received assurance that they had funds to cover the extra cost as well as maintain the district’s reserve. A motion to approve the bid was then placed before the board and, following a second, the bid was approved unanimously.
Phase one was scheduled to begin on Monday with a ground breaking ceremony at 2 p.m. on the football field. The ground breaking was attended by school board members, students and teachers of Emery High, district supervisors, the Castle Dale Mayor, Emery High Principal Steven Gordon and Vice Principal Dean Stilson, the contract supervisor, and interested citizens.
Emery High School was built in 1962 and brought together students from North and South Emery High Schools for the first time. There were no ball fields for the first little while, but some teams practiced in the field across the street from the high school. In 1983, the auditorium was added to the school and the science wing came in 1990. Eight years later, in 1998, the Spartan Center was added. The auditorium and Spartan Center will remain and be implemented into the new school building. Construction on the new schools is scheduled to finish in 2023.