Davis School District launches 2 high school upgrades. $475M bond plans edge ahead

Officials from Davis School District and Clearfield High School and others ceremonially break ground Monday on a planned addition to Clearfield High.

Officials from Davis School District and Clearfield High School and others ceremonially break ground Monday on a planned addition to Clearfield High. (Davis School District)


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LAYTON — As a major upgrade of Layton High School gets out of the starting block, Brigit Gerrard, vice president of the Davis School District school board, advises taking a long view in light of the likely disruption it will cause.

"There might be a little pain in the remodel," she said Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the launch of the $32.9 million project, which calls for construction of a new wing that will add space for arts, theater, science programming and more. "But in the end, it will be incredible and beautiful."

Davis School District voters approved a $475 million bond proposal in 2022, paving the way for the Layton High School project and the $32 million upgrade of Clearfield High School, which began on Monday. The Clearfield High School plans call for the addition of a stand-alone vocational education structure that will house automotive, engineering, welding, food science and other classrooms.

But those initiatives, while the latest to launch, are only two of many bond projects, including construction of two new schools in the Syracuse and West Point area, and officials say the broader efforts are proceeding as planned. Davis School District encompasses all of Davis County, and with around 71,000 students, it is the second-largest district in the state in terms of student numbers behind the Alpine School District.

"So far — and I'm crossing my fingers — so far, so good," Davis School District Superintendent Daniel Linford told KSL.com after Tuesday's groundbreaking.

Officials from Davis School District and Layton High School and others ceremonially break ground Tuesday on a planned addition to Layton High.
Officials from Davis School District and Layton High School and others ceremonially break ground Tuesday on a planned addition to Layton High. (Photo: Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

Indeed, though the construction industry has been marked by dramatic cost increases in recent years, district officials have managed to keep within the $475 million bond budget, they say. District officials aim to tap into rising property values in Davis County, an expanding tax base brought on by new development and retiring school debt in the years to come to preclude the need for a property tax hike. "Everything's been on schedule, on budget, looking good," said Weston Weekes, facilities administrator for the district.

Weber School District officials in neighboring Weber County haven't been so lucky. They are weighing a $60 million bond to supplement a $279 million bond issue approved by voters in 2021 to build three new schools from scratch and rebuild a fourth.

Here's a look at where things stand with the varied Davis School District bond projects:

  • A new grade school, Island View Elementary in West Point, is nearly finished and will open in time for the 2024-2025 school year. A new three-story junior high, also in West Point, is under construction and to be finished by the fall of 2025. Those projects — to accommodate strong growth in the West Point and Syracuse area in northwestern Davis County — had a $135 million budget, according to the original bond plans.

Officials from Davis School District and Layton High School and others ceremonially break ground Tuesday on a planned addition to Layton High.
Officials from Davis School District and Layton High School and others ceremonially break ground Tuesday on a planned addition to Layton High. (Photo: Tim Vandenack, KSL.com)

  • Two schools are being rebuilt in open space on the grounds they occupy, Sunset Junior High in Sunset and Bountiful Elementary in Bountiful. When complete in time for the 2025-2026 school year, kids will move into the new structures and the old ones will be demolished. Those projects together have a projected cost of $140 million.
  • The upgrades to Clearfield and Layton high schools are part of $135 million in planned improvements to seven schools in all, also including Bountiful High School, Kaysville Junior High School and Burton, Clinton and Vae View elementary schools. The Clinton Elementary work is underway, said Davis School District spokesman Christoper Williams, and the Bountiful High School plans, calling for a new vocational education center, are to be bid in the fall.
  • Another $60 million is planned for "smaller projects" around the district, including air conditioning improvements, upgrades to energy systems, updating of kitchens and windows and more.

Williams said the Clearfield High School project shouldn't interfere with day-to-day operations at the school when the 2024-2025 school year begins, though it may impact parking.

The Layton High School project, which will eventually allow for removal of numerous portable classrooms, will likely be more disruptive when school starts in August. "Portables on site are in the process of relocation and many teachers will be temporarily displaced during the construction process," he said.

Contractors on the Clearfield and Layton projects, he said, plan to do as much of the "heavy, dirty, noise construction" as they can during the summer.

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Tim Vandenack covers immigration, multicultural issues and Northern Utah for KSL.com. He worked several years for the Standard-Examiner in Ogden and has lived and reported in Mexico, Chile and along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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