Historic School Building Use Still Undecided

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The best use of the rock building at Julia Randall Elementary School is relatively uncertain right now.

Members of the Payson school district are considering multiple options for the building, including the possibility of using it for school or community purposes.

The board met Monday night to try and come to an agreement as to how to best utilize the structure.

The board at Monday's meeting reached no decision.

"In moving forward with the school's construction project, it has become clear that a formal designation for the use of the building has not been done," District Superintendent, Casey O'Brien said.

"If we decide to keep the building for school use only, renovation funds are available," O'Brien said. "But we need to coordinate this project like the others."

Board member Mike Horton asked if any utilization studies regarding the needs of the school, compared to other uses for the building, have been done.

O'Brien said none have been done up to this point, because it has been undecided how the board wanted to proceed with the project.

Ideas considered by the board for its use include making the building into administrative offices or using it as a tech center for the school.

O'Brien said after reviewing the cost of renovating the rock building as a tech center, as well as the cost of the equipment that would be needed, probably rules out its use as a tech center.

Board member Rory Huff said he would like to see the building used for the district administrative offices.

"When I take new teachers on a tour of the town, it would show more pride in our schools and district to have the offices at Julia Randall than where the offices are now, because they would be in the Green Valley Park area," Huff said.

Another option being considered by the board is to open the project to outside entities that might have ideas for its use.

Board members agreed the idea of outside entities submitting proposals would be an acceptable option, but police chief and board member Don Engler had some concerns about safety and who might be on school grounds, if the building is used by other than school or district entities.

"I agree with Chief Engler about having a building open to the public on school grounds," Huff said.

O'Brien said security is an important consideration and that the issue would have to be addressed before the building could be used by outside entities.

O'Brien suggested, and the board agreed, to a 30-day period ending on Oct. 15 to allow the public time to send in ideas.

After the meeting O'Brien said, "We want interested parties, who have the funds and backing, to actually be able to carry through with an idea, to submit proposals they may have as to how to use the rock building by Oct. 15."

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