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Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald 

The American Fork girls soccer team celebrates getting the Region 4 title trophy after the 1-0 Caveman win over Lone Peak in American Fork on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019.

Alpine School District board votes to build elementaries in Vineyard and Eagle Mountain

Vineyard and Eagle Mountain will receive the final two elementary schools left on Alpine School District’s 2016 bond, the district’s board of education voted Tuesday.

The Alpine School District Board of Education voted 6-1 for the plan, with Julie King as the dissenting voice.

“Vineyard is not shrinking, and I think it needs to be treated as the growing and thriving city that it is and not be used as a Band-Aid to bolster up other schools that are adjacent to it,” said Ada Wilson, a member of the board, prior to the vote.

The board expects to propose a bond in 2020 to help construct schools in other growing areas.

The two elementary schools will join a middle school in Lehi on the bond’s final phase.

The vote comes after months of discussion from the board about what to do with the remaining $40 million of its $397 bond. The final three schools are expected to collectively cost $80 million.

The district has attributed the deficit to expanding the scope of projects by adding square footage to schools, unexpected infrastructure costs and construction prices that have overwhelmed the district’s 2015 estimates.

Bond funds have been used to build schools, rebuild facilities, purchase property and implement security updates.

The board voted 4-3 last month to build a middle school and two elementary schools, but delayed the decision on which communities would receive the schools.

The board voted in 2017 to build an elementary school in Vineyard, a decision that multiple board members voiced that should not have happened. Three of the board’s current members where on the board for the 2017 vote.

King said the 2017 vote was made based on data that is now outdated and incorrect. King said at the time the board was projected to be the district’s largest elementary school and is now its fourth largest elementary.

She said the district also made a commitment to Saratoga Springs that it would get a new school in the bond’s third phase that it never received.

“If our reasoning is ‘we keep our promises and our commitments,’ than that should go across the board and not favor one community or another,” King said.

She said that Vineyard Elementary School’s overcrowding could be solved with a boundary adjustment.

The district’s western side continues to grow, creating multiple communities that have approached the board requesting an additional school.

Sage Hills Elementary School in Saratoga Springs is expected to have 1,194 students in 2023, according to district estimates. That same year, Black Ridge Elementary School in Eagle Mountain is projected to have 1,653 students, Vineyard Elementary School is expected to have 1,233 students and Dry Creek Elementary School in Lehi will have 1,183 students.

Although the schools have exceeded 1,000 students, Black Ridge Elementary School had 75 fewer students this academic year than expected and 38 more than last year, Vineyard Elementary School had 62 more students than projected this year and 124 more than last year, Dry Creek Elementary School had 58 fewer students than expected this year and 14 less than last school year.

Vineyard Elementary School is 10,000 square feet smaller than the other schools, which is the equivalent of 10 classrooms.

“For me, that has been a deciding factor,” said Amber Bonner, a member of the board of education.

Sara Hacken, a member of the board, said she understands that Sage Hills Elementary School in Lehi is large, but the district doesn’t own nearby land to build another school to alleviate its growth.

“Until we can get the property, there is not a lot we can do, so I think we ought to do what we can, where we can, where we do have the property and the commitment,” Hacken said.

She said Vineyard Elementary School had to put asphalt over part of the playground in order to create space to place another portable classroom.

Parents addressed the board during the public comment section of its meeting, asking for Vineyard to receive its second elementary school.

“I urge you to be smart with your decision tonight, to get ahead of the growth and to realize that if there’s not a need for a new school this second, that soon, so very soon, there will be a need for a new school,” Maegan Jenne, the PTA president of Vineyard Elementary School, told the board.

The board saw a draft of an accountability presentation for the 2016 bond prior to the meeting where it held the vote.

Kimberly Bird, a spokeswoman for the district, said the bonds have traditionally been over budget.

“Our capital needs have always exceeded our bond revenues, that has been the case clear back to 2001,” Bird told the board.

She said the overages have come from adding additional classrooms to schools, along with inflation cost in construction and in the price of furniture, fixes and equipment.

“When people hear scope increase, it is really value added to our buildings,” Bird told the board.

A specific funding plan for how the schools will be built has not been released. The district could use monetary sources such as capital funds, the sale of assets or utilize its local building authority to build the schools.

Orem council reviews capital improvement projects

The Orem City Council and city staff got an update Tuesday on the city’s two largest capital improvement projects; the library auditorium addition and the new fitness enter.

Library auditorium

According to Charlene Crozier, library director, the auditorium is expected to be completed by the end of August 2020.

“We’re on schedule,” Crozier said. “They started with the interior walls, the exterior will go up fast.”

Crozier said there have been only minor changes like fixture choices etc. The auditorium is laid out and is similar to the new Noorda Center for the Performing Arts at Utah Valley University.

The auditorium will hold 504 with extra spaces for ADA accessibility. The first rows, about 24 chairs, are moveable to have a proscenium stage.

“When picking colors, the majority of the council overwhelmingly liked the dark colors,” Crozier said.

The colors include dark wood with a multi-shade gray palette including chairs and curtains and carpeting.

The addition will provide not only the auditorium but a classroom and a divided area behind the stage allowing for three activities to happen at the same time.

Crozier said the lobby will provide an art exhibit area featuring city art and community exhibits.

“The total square footage is just under 20,000 square feet,” Crozier said.

Library staff just turned in a report to the Utah Library Association, indicating they have 881 programs with 54,000 attending.

“We are looking at utilizing the spaces for the community,” Crozier said. “We’re glad to have this resource.”

Crozier said they will start pouring concrete in the auditorium area within the next two weeks.

Fitness Center

The council also received an update on the construction of the new fitness center built by Big D Construction.

Joe Smith, lead designer on the project, said there were refinements to the floor plans. He went basically through each area and updated what will be happening from the spin studio to the family dressing rooms at the pools.

“The multi-purpose rooms are above and beyond what was requested,” Smith said. “The spin rooms are half again the size of the old one.”

The community asked for areas that provide lots of light, so large glass panels allowing views of Mount Timpanogos and more will be installed.

Among the details is the three-lane track on the second floor that overlooks some of the main floor. There are separated classrooms for dance, gymnastics and yoga and a multi-purpose room for a variety of programs.

There are seven studios, totalling 10,342 square feet. There are two cardio spaces with state-of-the-art equipment totaling 7,000 square feet of cardio space.

In addition to the weightlifting area that is about 2,800 square feet, there is expected to be a total of 11,281 square feet of strength training space.

“There are 20 family locker rooms, 12 with showers and toilets.” Smith said. “There will be a main level spectator seating (at the pools).”

The center will also provide indoor/outdoor childcare play areas and other meeting areas.

“In an effort to be cost-focused we shrunk some of the footage without taking away functionality,” said Jamie Davidson, city manager. “We took out 5,000 square feet at significant savings.”

The center is now about 130,000 square feet.

“It has a real welcoming feel to it,” Smith said.

Big D construction, with help from city crews, has the area leveled and cleared are beginning work on the footings and foundation.

The pools should be ready to reopen at the end of April. The completion date for the entire project is January 2021.

Big D representatives said they have prepared for a bad winter — a worst-case scenario — and are working fast and furious to get things done they said.

Provo starts developing 40-year water plan

If Provo is to have enough water in the distant future, the planning for that must happen now.

On Tuesday, the City Council heard of a proposed 40-year plan that will be brought at a future date for approval by the council.

Each city is required by state code to submit 40-year plans to make sure cities are using surface water water rights.

Before the city adopts a 40-year plan, there must be a supply and demand master plan developed, according to Keith Larson, water consultant with Bowen Collins.

“You never want to design exactly what water needs are,” Larson said.

Larson said the three water suppliers for Provo are from springs, wells and surface water. Water from springs go up and down over the years. In 2018, it was down.

Wells are trending downward, so surface water is an important component to conserves, Larson said.

“More water is being taken out of the aquifers than is going in,” Larson said. “There is a significant draw down.”

While that all sounds rather ominous, Larson said Provo is in pretty good shape, but could potentially run into trouble.

There is concern if future water would be available during long-term drought, natural disasters, contamination mechanical failure and climate change, which would include demand going up.

Currently, Provo’s population is about 123,336. In 40 years, population is projected to be 197,136.

Surface water needs to be stored underground until such time that it is needed. There is enough ground surface water to help.

“We must also continue developing wells,” Larson said. “Aquifer storage recovery will be significant for the future.”

In the coming two months, the city will start pilot programs to monitor where water is going.

“It takes years for (surface) water to travel,” Larson said.

After that information is collected it will be brought back to the council for approval.

“it will take some money to move forward with long term plans,” said Dave Decker, director of public works.

Larson said even though Provo is using less than its ground water rights, Provo staff is concerned the aquifer may not be capable of supporting significant additional withdrawals.

The good news is Provo has significant additional surface water rights available to meet future demands.

Larson recommends the city take advantage of available surface water rights and use the aquifer storage recovery and Jordanelle Reservoir storage.

Orem temple announcement catches some off-guard, excites area mayors

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced eight new temples during the church’s general conference on Saturday, including a temple to be build in Orem.

When completed, the temple will be the 22nd temple in Utah and the sixth temple in Utah County. Others include the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, the Provo Temple, Provo City Center Temple, Payson Temple and the Saratoga Springs Temple, which will have a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 19.

“I am surprised and excited that a new temple by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been announced to be built in Orem,” said Mayor Richard Brunst in an email. “Wow, what a great thing to happen for the residents of Orem and members of the church throughout Utah County.”

Brunst has been a proponent of a temple in Orem for a number of years. Three years ago, Brunst said he reached out to the church to encourage such an edifice and even provided a few locations that at the time were going up for sale.

A spokesperson with the church worked with Brunst and told him that ultimately, the church works independently of local leaders to maintain confidentiality to allow the president of the church to lead with a formal conference announcement.

From the moment of the announcement Saturday, excitement and ensuing speculation in Utah County began.

“The announcement of an Orem, Utah temple has brought excitement to many in our community,” said Steven Downs, city spokesman. “As of today, the city of Orem has received no information from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the location of the temple, but like many of our citizens, we have enjoyed spending time hypothesizing and speculating.”

Along with city leaders, city council members were also in the dark about the announcement.

“Such a wonderful and exciting announcement, a temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be built in Orem,” said Tom Macdonald, Orem city councilman. “I believe this will be a benefit to our community both for the beauty it will provide and the peaceful feeling that many will experience there.”

Macdonald acknowledged that he has received calls of residents questioning and offering speculation on where the church might locate the new temple.

“With you I have enjoyed the fun spoofs hitting social media as to where the temple might be and what it might look like,” Macdonald said. “Let me assure you the city council has no information concerning the building of this temple other then what was announced in conference. We were just as much surprised as the rest of you. I am sure it will be a great benefit to our wonderful city.”

Orem is not the only city where the church has made inquiries.

“We’ve been talking to the LDS Church,” said Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer. “The church owns land in Vineyard, about 11 acres. There have been discussions and recent communications, but nothing I can say what it is about for now.”

Fullmer says she keeps in contact with the church continuously because land is going so quickly in Vineyard.

“It would be beautiful along (Utah Lake),” Fullmer said.

Orem residents wanting to know as soon as possible about where and when the temple will be built should take note of building timelines of other Utah temples.

On Tuesday, the church released the rendering of the new temple in Layton, which comes as project leaders are preparing to file additional public documents relating to plans for the temple’s design. A groundbreaking date has not been set yet, a church press release said. Plans call for a three-story temple of more than 87,000 square feet.

The Layton Temple was announced in April 2018.

Church members in Saratoga Springs heard about their new temple in April 2017 by then-church President Thomas S. Monson. After more than two years of anticipation, it was announced in September that the temple will be located in the new Beacon Pointe subdivision, west of Redwood Road and north of Meadow Side Drive.

Given the acquisitions, paperwork, work with city planning commissions and councils, Orem residents will likely have to wait about a year before an announcement of where the temple will be located and when the groundbreaking and completion will happen, as is the norm for many of the church’s temples.

This is, of course, an average, and not a trend. For example, on Sept. 25, the church announced the location of the Tooele Valley Temple to be located northwest of the intersection of Erda Way and State Route 36 in Erda, Utah. This was less than six months from when Nelson made the announcement in April.

Officials identify 18-year-old Provo man who died in fatal crash near West Mountain

New details were released on Tuesday concerning a vehicle crash that killed an 18-year-old Provo resident near West Mountain and Benjamin.

The Utah Highway Patrol reported a 1975 blue Ford F-25 and a 2004 white Chevrolet Silverado were traveling northbound on State Route 147 at about 5:15 p.m. on Monday.

The driver of the Chevy attempted to pass the Ford and pulled alongside Eric E. Blackham, 18, who was driving the Ford.

“Witness stated there appeared to be a mutual racing-type occurrence between the two vehicles. While exhibiting speed, a side-swipe crash occurred,” according to a UHP report.

The Ford drove off the left side of the road, overcorrected and steered off the road to the right. The vehicle rolled and Blackham was ejected and found deceased at the scene.

The passenger in the Ford was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, and the driver and passenger of the Chevy were uninjured.

All the individuals involved were 18 years old or younger, officials reported.