BOUNTIFUL (ABC4 Utah News) – School’s out forever at historic Stoker School, built in 1905.
112 years of history started tumbling down Monday as a backhoe ripped away at the brick structure on the corner of 200 South and 100 East.
Bountiful historian Tom Tolman watched the demolition from the sidewalk. He went there for 6 years in the 1950s. For him the structure has community and family significance.
“My great grandfather Jaren Tolman built it in 1905 and then his half brother due to polygamy was the principal for over 40 years, David R. Tolman,” Tolman told ABC4 Utah News. “There’s just been a lot of great memories here, a lot of things that took place…Three quarters of the population of Bountiful has been educated in these walls.”
The school is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and most recently hosted University of Utah extension classes. Bountiful considered moving their City Hall here but Bountiful City Engineer Paul Rowland says “Seismically it was just unfit…After reviewing the analysis and the engineering on the building the City Council decided that it just wasn’t cost effective to try and retain this building or to try and restore it.”
The City Hall plan has been scrapped so now it will become a public plaza. Of course not everybody is happy to see this historic building coming down.
Dean Collinwood is a member of Better Bountiful and a current Mayoral candidate who fought to save Stoker.
“It’s a sad day for Bountiful,” Collinwood said. “It’s frustrating for everybody. There’s so many people who graduated from school, went to school in this place. Years and years ago. So many people have ties here.”
Collinwood says that Better Bountiful has worked to save the building.
“Over 4000 people signed a petition asking the city leaders to put this on a ballot,” Collinwood said. “Should we knock it down? Should we not knock it down? Should we build a plaza? Not build a plaza? And the city rejected those signatures and they’ve gone ahead despite public opposition to it, they’ve gone ahead and decided to knock it down.”
Rowland says the city hopes to have demolition completed and cleaned up by Friday when Bountiful hosts the finish of Stage 5 of the Tour of Utah on nearby Main Street.