OREM — Members of the Alpine Board of Education have approved a controversial plan to consolidate two elementary schools.
On Tuesday night, board members voted unanimously to go forward with the plan to merge Hillcrest and Scera Park elementary schools, at 651 E. 1400 South and 450 S. 400 East, respectively.
"Tonight's meeting really was the conclusion of several months of study and public input," said John Patten, assistant superintendent of the Alpine School District.
Patten said the plan to close both schools and demolish the buildings was proposed earlier this year because of declining attendance and aging facilities.
"Both schools have pretty significant seismic concerns and would be considered to rebuild in the near future," he said.
But the decision did not sit well with some parents attending the meeting. Orem resident Rebekah Westover has two children attending Hillcrest Elementary and does not support the plan to close it.
"It's a great community school, and we're really sad we're going to lose that," she said.
Westover is worried the plan to combine students from two smaller schools will hurt their education.
"We feel like neighborhood schools are a valuable asset to our communities, and it looks like that philosophy is changing for the school board," she said.
But parent Chelsey Olenik was all for Tuesday night's decision and expressed support for a new school building.
"The solution offered is a lot of the things that I was looking for, too, for my kids," she said.
Alpine School District officials hope to have the new school on the Scera Park Elementary property completed and occupied by the nearly 800 students from both schools by 2019.
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