By Kellen Browning and Grace Richey,
The Davis school board unanimously approved a contract with HMC Architects to build a new multi-purpose room (MPR) or similar structure on the Davis High campus at its Thursday, March 5 meeting.
The decision allows the firm to proceed with drafting options for the new facility. During the Feb. 19 meeting, trustees heard arguments for a simple modular construction building estimated to cost over $4 million.
While the board’s action to fast track the project is intended to save on rising construction and labor costs, ASB Communications Commissioner Sydney Maguire worries that the April 23 deadline on preparation will not allow for the project to be developed to its full potential. Maguire addressed trustees at the meeting.
“The proposed modular structure only allows for two to three uses–dining during rainy days, a large space for group activities and some extra storage space,” Maguire said. “For 4 million dollars we are merely solving these three issues, and tossing aside many other issues that come with the lack of an MPR.”
Trustee Barbara Archer expressed concern for how the funds for a complex facility will be allocated in the short time frame.
Funding for the replacement MPR will come from the $5.5 million made from the sale of the Grande Lot in North Davis, which must be allocated to another facilities project. The project was originally estimated at $11 million, but it has since been reduced by more than half.
“We should be spending our money creating a building that fosters creativity and an active student body,” Maguire said. “Let’s think outside of the box and innovate our ideas to create a facility that builds school spirit and a positive campus climate, which in turn also provides dining space and an area for large group activities.”
In a January 2015 interview with The HUB, English teacher Eleanor Neagley agreed with Maguire.
“I’d like to see a campus commons, something like a tiny MU,” Neagley said. “Maybe it could have couches and food and coffee and ping-pong tables. It would be a great place for kids to stay on campus and stay warm.”
The board concluded that unless community organizations like the Blue and White Foundation could contribute significant funds, the budget will most likely only be able to accommodate a basic modular facility.
Maguire ended her speech with a final request.
“I ask that you invest in our community, invest in our school climate and invest in our students,” she said.
Maguire is now asking DHS students interested in the issue to join a “small committee to work with the contractors” in choosing and designing a student union building, and asked students to message her on Facebook if they are interested in helping.