The Salt Lake City school board has decided to demolish the aging building that was once Rosslyn Heights Elementary, after evicting the arts charter school that had used the building since 2006.
The board has not yet decided what it will do with the 7.19-acre campus at 2291 S. 2000 East, said district spokesperson Yándary Chatwin, adding that its plan is to mitigate asbestos in the building right now and later demolish it.
“With the state that the building’s in, we don’t want it to become a blight to the community,” Chatwin said. “We don’t want the building sitting there.”
Under state law, the district must offer the site first to Salt Lake City, if it decides to sell the land. And if the land is sold to the city, it currently is restricted to public uses, said Salt Lake City planning director Nick Norris.
“If the city were to buy it, it would have to be used for some public purpose unless the city went through a process to rezone it to do something else,” Norris said. “And that would certainly be a possibility either way.”
In April, Chatwin said major issues with the building included two boilers being “completely dead,” outdated plumbing and a “very dated” electrical system.
A $225,230 purchase order for predemolition work by Fresh Air Environmental Solutions was approved by the board at a July board meeting. The district expected the cleanup to start sometime between Sept. 18 and Oct. 16, according to documents soliciting bids.
Bids for the demolition contract closed on July 20; Chatwin said that contract had not been awarded yet, as of Monday.
Ken Stoker with Fresh Air Environmental Solutions said the district instructed him not to answer any questions about the company’s work at the site.
In its detailed scope of work document, created to solicit bids, the district said it wanted to remove asbestos, hazardous and other materials, such as PCB chemicals, fluorescent tubes and thermostats that could contain mercury and refrigerants containing freon. “This list may not be all-inclusive,” the document said.
In the request for proposals for the second contract, the district said it wanted the demolition to include the building, concrete tunnels and footings; interior fences, soccer goals and paving; and the removal of trees, shrubs and other plants. It also will include removing playground equipment and basketball hoops and court.
Work on the demolition must be completed within 75 calendar days from the start date, according to the request’s scope of work description.
Rosslyn Heights, which new district Superintendent Elizabeth Grant had attended as a child, was closed by the district twenty years ago when the neighborhood saw a drop in enrollment. The district is again facing significant losses in enrollment — but this time, no schools on the city’s east bench have been recommended for study for possible closure.
The schools that are currently recommended for additional study are Emerson, Hawthorne, Bennion, Mary W. Jackson, Newman, Riley and Wasatch elementary schools, which are located around the neighborhoods of Rose Park, Poplar Grove, the Avenues/downtown and Liberty Wells.
Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts, or SPA, was located in the former Rosslyn Heights building before its lease expired on June 30. The district said it decided to let the charter’s lease expire due to the declining state of the building.
SPA will be moving downtown into the historic Oquirrh School building starting next school year. Students previously attended Highland High School for their core classes, due to its proximity to the old Rosslyn Heights building, which was a main concern for families when the move was initially announced.
Students will now be able to choose between three options: continuing core classes at Highland; taking some in-person core classes at SPA and on online platforms; or taking classes at Salt Lake Community College or the University of Utah.