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Sandy Journal

Sandy City mulls options for rebuilding several city buildings

Aug 29, 2018 01:28PM ● By Jana Klopsch

The exterior of the Sandy City Parks and Recreation building. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Justin Adams | j.adams@mycityjournals.com 

During an Aug. 14 city council meeting, the Sandy City administration presented an updated master plan for the city’s capital projects. That includes several city buildings in need of a rebuild or a remodel, including the public works building, parks and recreation building, fire station #31 and the Alta Canyon Recreation Center. 

A committee made of multiple city department heads considered the needs of each building and came up with multiple solutions as well as a recommendation, which were presented to the city council. 

Public Works 

The public works building, built in 1977, houses the offices for the public works department as well as a bay for the city’s vehicle fleet. The building experienced severe damage as a result of a fire in January 2017. 

The committee considered several locations around the city, then narrowed their list down to three: a lot to the south of the Canyons School District offices on Sandy Parkway that would require a total rebuild, remodeling the Steris building located at 150 E. 9120 S. and rebuilding on the existing site (8775 S. 700 W.). 

The recommendation given to the council was to rebuild at the current site, a project with an estimated price tag of $21 million. 

Parks and Recreation 

The city’s parks and recreation department is currently housed in a building that was originally built in 1928 as a junior high school. It has since served as the city hall. 

The old building needs a seismic retrofit, a new elevator to make it ADA compliant and a roof replacement. 

Because of the age of the building, it would cost almost as much money to renovate the current building as it would to build a new building at a different location from scratch.

However, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Shane Pace noted that getting rid of historically significant yet aging buildings often proves to be both challenging and controversial for cities.

Given these considerations, the city looked at multiple options, including moving the parks and rec offices to Alta Canyon Rec Center and building a new space at Lone Peak Park. Ultimately, the recommendation given by the committee is to remodel the current building, which would cost an estimated $3.7 to $4.5 million. 

Fire Station #31 

The fire station was built in 1987 at a time when the city’s sales tax revenue was down, which led to the building being “built on the cheap,” according to Pace. Now that cheap construction is starting to show, with cracks in the floors and water leaking in. 

The options considered for the fire station were to rebuild at the current site, remodel the previously mentioned Steris location or build a new station on 9400 South, somewhere between State Street and Monroe Street. 

The final recommendation was to rebuild on 9400 South because it would give the department a “faster response to the downtown area as population grows” and provide “greater access to the major transportation corridors.” 

Alta Canyon Recreation Center

While the building itself is in pretty good shape relative to the other buildings, the city’s report says the boiler, sand filter and chemical systems need to be replaced. Other general improvements are needed to make the center “more competitive with other recreation centers in the area,” said Pace. Or as the report put it, “this facility does not need to be replaced but updated and expanded in order to compete in the marketplace.” 

The situation is complicated by the fact the recreation center is funded by a special tax district within the city. Those within the district pay an additional property tax in order to fund it.

Some of the options considered by the committee include increasing the property tax within the existing district in order to fund the improvements, expanding the district to the entire city so the cost will be more spread out, and petitioning Salt Lake County to take over the facility. There were also two “nuclear” options: eliminate the special tax district completely and demolish the facility altogether, or eliminate the district and leave only the outdoor pool and dressing rooms.

No recommendation was given by the committee for this project. 

Funding 

Depending on which options the city opts to go with, these combined projects could cost anywhere from $34 to $43 million, an estimate which Pace said is conservative. 

The city is considering a variety of funding sources, including state grants, issuing bonds, raising property taxes, raising city fees (water, garbage, etc.) and more. 

Now the city will work with a contracted financial adviser to do an analysis of all the options. The committee will then incorporate that analysis and make a final recommendation, which will be presented both to the city council and to the public through the form of town hall meetings, public hearings and possibly a referendum.