Park City Students Will Have Two New Tunnels For Safe Street Crossings

Jun 27, 2018

Credit PCSD

At its most recent meeting, the Park City Board of Education granted the necessary easements to Park City for the construction of a new tunnel, approved next year’s budget – and got an update on the construction of the new Park and Ride lot near Ecker Hill Middle School. Carolyn Murray has more:  

Currently the surface crosswalk connecting the high school and LDS Seminary building on Kearns Boulevard, called a hawk beacon, is used as many as 15 times an hour.  With traffic congestion an ongoing concern, Park City officials presented the school board with three options to consider to build a tunnel to move students from one side of the street to the other.,

District Communications Director, Melinda Colton says the Board selected the 1A option because aesthetically it was most appealing. With the board’s approval, the City will start to do preliminary utility work at the tunnel site with construction planned for the spring of 2019. 

“It’s not just students who are using it.  You’ve got all those housing units over there and people who are coming to catch the bus that’s right there near the High School. So it will be utilized not just by our students but year around throughout the community.”    

Making left hand turns onto Kearns is tricky even with the intermittent stops allowed by the Hawk Beacon signal.  When that signal is replaced by the tunnel, Colton agrees that exiting the high school and the residential neighborhoods, could be very difficult.

“I think it’s something that the city does have some additional plans that they’ll look at.  They have done a complete traffic study so I‘m sure that’s all included in their proposal as we get a little bit closer to this.  I mean they’ll have to do additional studies with that to see how that impacts kids as they’re getting out of the High School parking lot.”

Summit County has started construction of the new Park and Ride lot on Kilby Road across from Ecker Hill Middle School. Colton says the county will build a tunnel there connecting the parking lot to the school.        

“They want to have a safe way for students to be able to get from that Park and Ride where parents will be able to drop their students off and go under the tunnel.  It will have all the same security measures we are anticipating in Park City as well with cameras and feeds will go into the school so we can maintain safety all those kinds of things along there.”

The Park and Ride lot is not designed to replace the current Ecker Hill Middle School drop off but to give parents another alternative.  Colton says with the two new traffic circles going in on Kilby Road, it’s going to be a learning curve for users.

“If anyone’s been out there during drop-off and pick-up, it’s quite a line. So they will still be able to do the ususal routes that they have but it may be easier for parents to just drop off and know their kids will be able to safely go under the tunnel into the school. That is supposed to be done by August 23rd when classes start.

Next year’s school budget was approved along with 21 new positions. It was passed by a 4 to 1 vote. As we reported, School Board Member Petra Butler voted against the budget saying she is concerned with providing a smooth transition for all of the new employees. Colton says the board shares her concerns and interim Superintendent, David Gomez is working to coordinate the hiring and on-boarding effort.

“He’s establishing a schedule right now of all of the different portions these new employees coming in would need to be aware of. And he will present that over to the Superintendent and she will be responsiblefor making sure that gets implemented.”

Colton says the new High School Principal, Roger Arbabi, is also involved with the selection of the new Assistant Principal. 

“He was very involved in that process and making sure that he had a team that will jell with him and he will also make sure that that person coming in as well as the other two assistant principals are all in line with what they should be doing and the division of responsibilities.”

As reported, the School Board is prepared to spend a million dollars out of the capital fund to purchase a home for the new Superintendent, Jill Gildea. This purchase was approved in closed session as the board negotiated her contract.

“I do believe that Todd Hauber is working with her and looking at different home opportunities.”

      Adoption of the budget was scheduled to happen on June 19th.  Due to a lack of a quorum, the hearing was pushed to June 21st which is when the board approved next year’s budget. Although the budget has been approved by the school board, Colton says the will take any additional public input at 6 pm on Tuesday July 3rd.