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SOUTH SALT LAKE — Demolition of Granite High School, closed in 2009, is set to begin this summer now that the Granite Board of Education prepares to award a $2.5 million contract to raze the century-old campus.
Administrators recommended approval of $2.55 million to Staker Parson Co. for demolition of structures on the site, 500 E. 3305 South. The school board was expected to act on the award Tuesday evening.
"They'll start asbestos mitigation immediately. We would not anticipate buildings coming down until August," said Ben Horsley, director of communications and community outreach for the Granite School District.
The school district will work with the contractor to preserve memorabilia such as bricks and exterior features of buildings to be made available to the public at a later time.
"This was a building that served the community well, and we're grateful for all the students who have been able to utilize this facility over the past 100 years," Horsley said.
"Unfortunately, these buildings become too costly at some point to renovate. In this particular case, there's no student population to facilitate that size of a building anymore, which is why this school was closed in 2009 in the first place," he said.
For Garbett Homes, the planned demolition of the property signals the beginning of a new chapter for the site, construction of 76 single-family homes on the south portion of the 27-acre parcel.
Jacob Ballstaedt of Garbett Homes acknowledged there will likely be "mixed feelings about those buildings coming down." His own grandmother is an alumna, he said.
"But overwhelmingly, it's a good thing. The buildings themselves have been an eyesore for a long time. The way it is now is really a problem for the neighborhood," Ballstaedt said.
"What's going in now will be a great thing for the community. The city of South Salt Lake needs single-family homes, which we will be providing. It needs new blood. It needs some new young families to move into the community. The future development there will be bright, and we're excited to be a part of it," he said.
Magnet for crime
Earlier this year, Horsley said the minimally maintained school buildings had become a magnet for crime. Granite School District police received more than 200 calls over the past year because of trespassing and other issues.
"We continue to have squatters, copper theft, drug deals and even young people entering the property to explore and do all manner of vandalism," he said. "It is an attractive nuisance."
One condition of the sale of the land to Wasatch Partners, of which Garbett Homes is part, is that the school district pay for the demolition of the school buildings, Horsley said.
The purchase price was approximately was $11.6 million, he said.
Contributing: Peter Samore