On Monday, the Cache County School District closed on a new building that will be the future home for district offices. The purchase was announced at last Thursday’s school board meeting and Tim Smith, public information officer for the district, says the building is exactly what the district needs.
“We have been actively searching for solutions, knowing that the building we are currently in has reached capacity,” Smith explains. “We did have an opportunity that presented itself that looked like a good solution for us so we went forward with it.”
The district purchased the building at 84 East 2400 North for $5.2 million. The building used to be the home of call center Direct Financial Solutions, which Smith says is perfect for what the district needs in the modern era.
“It has a server room that can eventually become our core data center for the district. It’s got all of the network lines and fiber optics in place for us,” he explains. “It’s a fairly new building. It was built in 2005, good solid construction. It’s a brick building.
“We felt very good about its size, its structure, has a good-sized parking lot, fully landscaped, comes with a lot of furniture in place that we wouldn’t have to replace.”
Smith says twice in the last 10 years the district has received recommendations to replace the district office (in 2006 and again in 2013). But with a growing student population, the district felt it needed to take care of housing students first. Smith says the money to purchase the building did not come from the bond money that was used to build and remodel schools throughout the district.
“One of the things we did was be very conservative as we were finishing this last bond project to get the two new high schools online and all of our elementary school remodels,” he continues. “We conserved money where we could so we had some money in our general fund and in our capital outlay funds.
“That is where this money is coming from. We didn’t need to go into debt and can purchase the building outright. We saw that as a huge advantage for us.”
The building is move-in ready so the district will begin moving over some of its technology resources over the next several weeks. But it may take months to get all the staff moved over, only because Smith says it is difficult to make such a move in the middle of the school year.
The Cache County School District will keep its existing district offices at 2063 North 1200 East in North Logan because, despite its age, the building is still structurally sound. It will continue to house the district’s board room and training rooms. However, the district will vacate the old River Heights Elementary School that it uses for Student Support Services. Smith says that building will either be closed or turned over to River Heights, similar to what the district did with Park Elementary and Richmond.
Construction in the district is nearing a close. Cache High remains under construction near Bridgerland Technical College. But student populations continue to increase in the district, which means more construction may be needed in the near future.
“(Cache High) would close out the 2013 bond initiative that we had. We would be done with all the projects we had on the table,” Smith explains. “As far as what the future holds, we continue to grow as a district. We’re seeing growth across the valley. We grew about 368 students this year. The previous two years we were up above 400 students per year. So we’re continuing to experience growth and we need to address that in the future. I think we’re a few years away from needing to address that, but it definitely needs to be on our radar.”