By VIRGINIA GIORGIS
MOUNTAIN VIEW —It’s official, the buildings will come down, due to the action taken Tuesday night by the Mountain View School Board.
During their regular board meeting, the board approved the demolition of the Fort Bridger Elementary and the Mountain View Elementary and Middle School Complex.
The action was taken following a public hearing, as required by law, prior to the regular meeting. The action was inevitable, due to the state’s allocation of square footage per student once the new K-8 building was approved.
According to Superintendent Jeff Newton during the hearing, the action was actually initiated following a change in funding schools in 2001 when the courts decided districts would no longer fund the construction of their own schools. This decision was the result of a lawsuit against the inequality of district assets.
The decision resulted in the formation of the School Facilities Commission (SFC) in 2002 and the state took over co-ownership of the major maintenance funding for schools in Wyoming.
The state set the new procedure as the “equitable way to build” schools in Wyoming, Newton said. The state also assessed all of the school buildings in Wyoming as to functionality, capacity and condition.
In 2004, the state determined there were seismic conditions at MVMS and the building would not withstand an earthquake if it occurred. In addition, Newton said, there were also problems with roofing.
This resulted in the district working with the SFC. In 2008–09, the replacement of the Mountain View schools was booted to the front of the pack as they were deemed the “worst in the state of Wyoming,” Newton said. During the ensuing time, the new K-8 building was planned, approved and construction started.
The district, according to Newton, had been contacted by four entities, which might be interested in the buildings – Town of Mountain View, Uinta County Historical Society, Senior Citizens and the American Legion. All four deemed “it was not feasible financially to maintain or renovate the buildings.”
The district’s timeline still has occupation of the new building July 2014. At that time, it will become necessary to demolish the buildings.
By working with other public entities, the district could sell the buildings at a nominal fee. If they would go to a private entity, the purchaser would have to pay full market value based on the average of three appraisals. Proposals could be considered up to the time of demolition.
For the complete article see the 12-13-2013 issue.
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