With election day right around the corner, we have one of Utah’s TOP K12 architects visiting with us today to talk about why voting for new schools is so important. Greta Anderson is the head of the K12 studio at Utah Largest Architecture firm, FFKR Architects. She is the LEAD architect on Hillcrest High School right now. She also designed Olympus High school and Provo High school.
Did you know that bond elections are the main funding mechanism to build new schools here in Utah? School budgets usually only cover other costs such as teacher salaries.
When new schools are built they are intended to last 60, 70, or more years and must be very durable – they’re constructed for longevity. Every time a 70-year old school is replaced it provides a more safe, secure, and healthy environment for kids and the staff. That’s what you get when you vote ‘yes’ for school bond elections. Much of our school building inventory is aging and expensive to maintain. They may have harmful materials (such as asbestos) which are not used today. Problems with infrastructure such as plumbing and electrical makes delivering technology challenging.
Older school buildings were constructed when building codes did not require seismic reinforcement. That means they will not perform well in an earthquake. Even building codes today are specifically written to make schools safe. I don’t think many of us have forgotten the March 2020 earthquake, the first major earthquake since 1992, and we want to be prepared. Schools have become community centers for social services as well.
Many of Utah’s new schools’ house clinics, or provide homeless student services such as a place to wash their clothes and shower, and even store food pantries to help feed students. The way the curriculum is delivered today is very different than in years past. Old building designs don’t facilitate modern learning such as collaborative group work and evidence-based learning. Utah needs modern designs to develop problem-solving skills in Utah children. Utah needs STEM labs and career and technical education spaces in schools to fill jobs in this growing state, preparing students for jobs of the future and great outcomes. New schools not only prepare better prepare students for suture jobs, but also provide new jobs immedietly.
A middle or high school building creates hundreds of jobs over several years and boosts our economy. Utah continues in a hypergrowth pattern, as the state’s population is expected to double by 2050. Utah is dead last in spending per pupil. If you live in a school district boundary that is bonding, vote, and support!
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