90-year-old Provo middle school on chopping block

Dixon Middle School in Provo is set to be replaced by a newer school 1.8 miles away. (Carissa Hutchinson, KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

PROVO — Dixon Middle School sits in central Provo and has for 90 years. It's an architectural beauty but is in dire need of upgrades.

Nine hundred students attend Dixon, although it can hold up to 1,200. Right now, it's set to close in a couple of years when a brand new Dixon, to be built on Footprinter Park 1.8 miles away, is set to open.

Two years ago, a bond went for a public vote. That bond included several schools, including a site and school for Dixon. It failed by 63%.

For the last year and a half, discussions have been ongoing as to what to do with the school. It can stay as is. But, a growing number of people want the district to rebuild it on its current site.

Last month, the board used municipal bond authority to secure a bond to build the new school at the new site. It's legal and it requires no public vote. Shannon Bingham couldn't believe it.

"As voting citizens, we should be able to vote," says Bingham.

She's lived along these tree-lined streets in central Provo for 20 years. She knows Dixon needs an overhaul. She believes it should be done at its current location.

"A new school, rebuilt at this Dixon site, will be a brand-new school, the programming will be the same," says Bingham.

But the Provo City School Board says it makes no sense to invest in a new school at its current site when they can build a new, state-of-the-art school on a 20-acre plot of land 1.8 miles away at Footprinter Park.

"The new site… it's a clean site, there's nothing there," says Caleb Price, director of communications for Provo City School District. "It allows us to have a two-story school with the ability in the future to grow if needed."

Price says low-interest rates on bonds and inflation are risks the district doesn't want to take by delaying a decision further. Last month the board voted 4-3 to move Dixon.

Bingham and a group of parents are trying to get enough signatures to overturn the board's decision. The petition can be found at savedixon.org. That would put it on a ballot for a vote next year.

The district says it's too late. It made its choice, and it stands.

Debbie Worthen

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