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Canyons says no to Mormons, Summum in seminary spat

Published August 17, 2011 10:02 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Canyons School District will not sell land at its Draper high school site to the LDS Church or Summum for a seminary building.

The district's site plan for the school, expected to open in fall 2013, shows a one-acre space marked "seminary" next to the planned campus. The LDS Church had expressed interest in buying the land for released-time religious instruction, according to Canyons.

Last week, Summum, a Salt Lake City-based faith that practices meditation, sent a letter to Canyons inquiring about buying the land for its first seminary.

Brian Barnard, an attorney for Summum, expressed concerns that Canyons could be showing preference for one religion by labeling the space "seminary," a term commonly used in Utah for LDS instruction.

In a closed-door meeting Tuesday, the Canyons board decided the land is not for sale, said Canyons spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook. "They [school officials] don't have any excess land to sell. Draper is a rapidly growing community" and the school could be expanded, she said. "We essentially have two interested buyers but no interested seller."

Rosemary Winters