Salt Lake City – Wednesday night, West High School officials held their third feasibility study community meeting to discuss the four options on the table for the necessary upgrades to the building that is more than 100 years old.
Each option costs about $300 to $415 million, and could take up to eight years to build.
There was a buzz of anticipation as parents and alumni took their seats to hear about their choices. According to the presentation, if the community focuses on renovating old buildings, they must accept that current students will be greatly affected. That is, they will be confined to portable classrooms.
For some students, their entire high school experience will be confined to their portable. And parents like Heidi Schubert aren’t too happy about that.
“So my daughter has spent two years in a portable at Emerson Elementary, I’d rather she not spend all of high school in a portable,” Schubert said.
As for the cost of any renovation, Schubert said it may not be worth it.
“I will be up against a lot of people here,” he told KSL NewsRadio. “Why do I think the entrance to West High School is beautiful? Absolutely. It’s really impressive.”
“But renovations are incredibly expensive. And from the taxpayer’s perspective, I don’t think they should do that. I think you deserve a new school.”
Whitney Ward, with VCBO Architects, gave the presentation. He said the upgrade price for the four Moon options is between $300 and $415 million.
“I think spending is something unique because we’ve had a dramatic shift in the construction industry in the last two years,” Ward said. “And it becomes difficult to look at this spending and compare it to the spending of high schools that were built two, five, ten years ago.
“And I’m personally not in a position to say what it’s worth to the students. But I will say that regardless, this school district is going to have to make a major investment in West High School in the coming years.
Ward noted that construction costs will not decrease in the future, and that the Salt Lake City School District should think about the best way to spend those millions of dollars.
“It’s important to think about spending money in the most useful way you can, and make sure that money goes as far as you can.”
Although the specifics are not yet clear, construction is set to begin in 2024.
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