When a client of the Payson Regional Economic Development was shown the area's schools, he said they looked like third-world countries, said Payson High School principal Roy Sandoval.
The director of the PREDC at the time (2003), Scott Flake decided to do something about it, Sandoval said.
Flake told Macky's Grill co-owner Cari Day about the experience. Day offered to help him do something about it.
Flake and Day launched a citizens' initiative -- the Payson School Beautification Committee.
"We want our kids to be proud of our schools," Day said. "With the problems we're having in our schools with morale, with teacher morale, let's make (the schools) a better place for our kids and for our teachers, make them want to come to work."
The committee first interviewed all the PUSD principals, asking them to prioritize their individual school's needs, and to rank the schools in order of overall need.
"You have no idea how difficult (prioritizing) has been," Day said. "It's all bad. One of our meetings was three-and-a-half hours long just trying to sort through it."
On one point, however, there was unanimous agreement -- Rim Country Middle School is the worst of the worst. The committee decided to focus its initial efforts on the exterior appearance and grounds of RCMS.
The efforts to beautify and improve the district's facilities and grounds continues today.
At the start of the 2005-2006 school year the school board toured all the district facilities, according to superintendent Sue Myers. "They looked at everything and we have a lot of work to do," she said.
But there is not as much work as there might have been. "The beautification committee has really made its presence known," Myers said.