I need to set the record straight after Mack Oetting published incorrect information in the FYI Panguitch section of this newspaper last week. Mack said, “Mr. Dalton reported that the School Board has elected to close the swimming pool at the High School for good.” I never made this statement. Why would I make this statement for the School District when the pool is owned by the city? It is not my decision to close a city building. I am frustrated Mack Oetting can publish mistruths in his article and never have any ramifications for his actions. I would prefer to address current items in the Garfield School District instead of a rebuttal to partial truth with inaccurate information related to the School District. With this said, I would like to let the citizens of Garfield County know the current situation of the Panguitch City Pool. On October 27, 2011, I presented a proposal to replace the heating system at PHS. In the presentation, the deteriorating condition of the pool was addressed. Bids were also presented by three separate contractors to the School Board estimating the cost needed to repair the pool to be between $94,685 and $179,692 depending on which plan was accepted. In this meeting, the Board decided to approve roof top units, which would remove the 1964 boiler. The boiler was currently being used to heat the school and the pool. This decision left no means to heat the pool without additional expenses added specifically for the pool. The School Board stated they did not want to put any additional money into the pool. I received a letter from Panguitch City dated February 3, 2012. It stated the following, “At our City Council meeting on January 24, 2012 a motion was made and approved by the City Council to request $700,000 from the School District to move the pool from its current location. We would then release any interest in the building and pool.” The District responded with a letter on February 14, 2012 saying we were not going to pay $700,000 for the pool. Panguitch City approached me asking if the School District would be interested in splitting the cost of an appraisal. I agreed to split the cost of the appraisal. Panguitch City arranged for an appraisal of the pool, the cost was $3,000 and the School District paid $1,500 to the City for the appraisal. The appraisal said, “Given the physical incurable obsolescence associated with the pool, it is our opinion the highest and best use of the property is to import fill dirt, level the pool for an alternative use. Our final opinion of value for the subject property is $150,000. I attended the Panguitch City council meeting on September 11, 2012 where the appraisal was discussed. I do not want to speak for the City, but my understanding of the meeting was that Panguitch City was not pleased with the value of the appraisal and felt the City should add what they have contributed to the pool to the $150,000. The City was going to research back to 2006 to see what their contributions have been to the pool. The appraisal is on the District web page under the School Board/Board Docs tab. For your information, in the last four years, the School District has spent an estimated $97,347 toward pool expenses. The School Board discussed this appraisal in their September 20, 2012 meeting. A motion was made to direct me to propose an offer to Panguitch City to purchase the pool for an amount discussed in the closed meeting. The vote with the Board was split two for the motion and two against the motion; one Board member was not present. The motion died, the topic will be discussed again at the School Board meeting in Escalante on October 25, 2012. I will attend the Panguitch City meeting on September 25, 2012 to listen to their discussion about the pool. If you have suggestions on this topic, please contact your City Council representative or your School Board members. I think it is important to remember, the School District and Panguitch City both operate with your tax dollars. We need to keep this in mind when issues between schools and cities surface.
–Superintendent Ben Dalton