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Canyons school board votes to build new Crescent View Middle School

Published: Tuesday, March 6 2012 10:58 p.m. MST

Hundreds turn out for the Canyons School board meeting. Members of the Canyons School District vote to change the Middle School boundaries during a school board meeting Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Hundreds of concerned parents were on hand for the meeting.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SANDY — The Canyons School Board voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve a proposal that will shift boundaries and rebuild Crescent View Middle School at a new location in Draper.

“When I look at this proposal … it just made sense,”  school board President Tracy Scott Cowdell said before a packed and passionate crowd at the district office. “I realize some people will be unhappy about it.”

The board's decision is an attempt to address boundary changes and student distribution in a district where middle school campuses are concentrated in the north and lacking in the south.

“I don’t feel badly that some people are going to have to bus when some communities have been neglected for generations,” Cowdell said.

Voters in the district approved a bond in 2010 that set aside money to build a new Draper high school and rebuild and renovate aging schools. A February proposal to close Crescent View Middle School and replace it with a new school at another location has upset parents, however.

The location of the new Crescent View Middle School could be at approximately 1300 East and 13000 South at property the district owns. Members of the board said the future use of the existing facilities would be considered at a later date. Crescent View, built in 1987, is the district's newest middle school.

Due to the unusually large number of people attending Tuesday's meeting who wanted to make public comment, the district limited comments to 20 people who were allowed two minutes each.

Draper Mayor Darrell Smith spoke in favor of the proposal, saying schools needed to be built in the southern portion of the district to meet the needs of a growing population.

Jim Jensen, a member of the district’s boundary committee, agreed.

“The population base in the district is not where the schools are,” Jensen said. “We’ve got enough schools for the students, the schools are just not in the right place.”

It was parents who were against the proposal, arguing it did not meet the criteria of a $250 million bond passed by voters two years ago.

“We ask that the board honor the original intent of the bond and not close or repurpose schools,” said Chad Iverson, who brought a petition of 800 signatures asking the board not to approve the proposal.

Some argued the language of the bond was too vague, and voters had approved it thinking the money would go to improvements and facility upgrades at aging schools.

“This seems a little bit fast,” said Whit Johnson. “We need to put this proposal through the process. It feels like a bait and switch.”

The cost of the new Crescent View Middle School is estimated to be $32 million, district spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook said.

The cost of renovating Crescent View Junior High was estimated to be $18.5 million.

“We’re not saying we don’t need a school in Draper,” said Derek Swanson during public comments. “We have limited funds to work with.”

E-mail: hschwarz@desnews.com

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