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Granite High alumni will get a chance to own piece of old school building

Granite High alumni will get a chance to own piece of old school building

(Carter Williams, KSL.com)


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SOUTH SALT LAKE — Granite High School alumni will get a chance to own a piece of the school’s campus as crews slowly but surely demolish the vacant buildings.

The Granite School District will give alumni a chance to own a brick of some of the campus buildings, located at 3305 S. 500 East, beginning Monday and running through Thursday, July 20. The bricks will be available for pickup at the northeast parking lot just off of 3300 South.

While a fence currently blocks off the perimeter of the campus, crews will push the fences in to allow individuals to park in the lot and pick up a brick. No large-hauling vehicles will be permitted, and the district requests that individuals or families take one brick each.

Bricks from the main building will be available at a later date, according to Ben Horsley, communications director for the Granite School District. He said the delay from that building is from continuous asbestos mitigation and anticipated the full $2.5 million demolition project would be completed in late August or early September.

Horsley said the district has received plenty of feedback from alumni from all over the country wishing to secure a piece of the building as a keepsake.

“You can see on Facebook posts with people saying, ‘Can someone mail me a brick or ship one to me?’” he said. “There’s a lot of those types of conversations happening. It’s one small token we can offer alumni.”

The school opened in 1907 and was a fixture in the Salt Lake Valley for a century before it closed in 2009. The campus of several buildings has remained vacant since.

South Salt Lake made two attempts at acquiring the land and buildings but both measures were turned down by voters. Wasatch Development Group purchased the land in January and, as a part of the deal, had the district tear the buildings down.

The process began months ago with crews removing asbestos from the buildings, and the buildings are slowly being torn down. The auditorium and cafeteria are expected to be torn down within the next week.

Meanwhile, there have been efforts by alumni to preserve the building. Granite High School alumna Merili Carter helped put together a proposal to make it a historical site. The Board of State History voted unanimously to recommend approval to list the campus on the National Historical Registry in April.

However, the deciding factor in preserving the buildings was up to the land’s owner, Wasatch Development Group.

“There are so many people that would be willing to volunteer their time or work at a reduced rate to save these buildings, so to find out they won’t even talk to us about these buildings is just mind-boggling,” Carter said in March, after the paperwork was submitted to the Division of State History.

The deconstruction process began in June when crews tore down the pool and industrial arts building. It has been a process of removing asbestos and removing the other buildings since.

All memorabilia from inside the school was given to South Salt Lake to be archived for future display, while the school’s seal and portions of its gym floor were kept by the district.

“This is a wonderful and memorial and historical school. It’s been around since the early 1900s. There’s a lot of alumni that are still around from 50, 60 years ago when they graduated,” Horsley said. “It’s unfortunate that the buildings are meeting this fate, but it was clear voters won’t be willing to fund the preservation of these facilities and obviously the district cannot expend those types of resources for a campus that’s no longer necessary.”

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com. He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.

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