CAN THE PARK SCHOOL BE RENOVATED?
Yes. Studies have already shown the Park School can be renovated and is in good shape for a 100+ year old building. Many historic buildings throughout Utah (and the nation) as old, or older, than the Park School have been beautifully renovated and put back into productive uses that draw traffic to historic areas.
Unfortunately, the technology and science behind renovation is not understood by everyone - even those who work professionally in new construction. To get a successful, on-budget renovation requires contractors with training and experience in historic rehabilitation.
A grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation is allowing the Draper Historic Preservation Commission (DHPC) to order an updated Park School report from Cooper Roberts Simonsen (CRSA) - a firm highly experienced in historic building renovation. We hope our elected officials will be willing to hear from CRSA and others who have renovation down to a science and know how to make historic preservation profit.
This Park School Condition and Reuse Report will gather, in one presentation, the information needed to give a true picture of the school, and it's prospects for re-use. The private sector should be invited to invest in the school. There are successful companies that prefer to locate in historic buildings - they seek out fun and unique surroundings, and recognize that renovation is "greener" than new construction and gives more back to the community - both in civic pride and local investment.
WHO SHOULD RENOVATE THE PARK SCHOOL?
Draper is brimming with new and newer commercial construction - and opportunity for more at the State Prison site. Draper should foster a diverse stock of commercial building types to lure businesses that are not interested in new construction or the standard shopping center. Preservation of the Park School and other National Register sites in the Town Center can attract those companies that seek out historic buildings and locales - many of which are tech firms.
There is no need to use taxpayer dollars to fund renovation of the Park School. It IS possible to sell the Park School property for what it is worth (or do a long-term lease) AND attract new business and vitality to Draper's Town Center and private investment to the Park School.
There is also a grass-roots campaign to raise funding through donations to convert the Park School into a much-needed community arts center (see Arts at THE PARK). This Arts Center could also bring vitality and traffic to Draper's Town Center and support private enterprise in the area. This proposal also does not require a tax increase.
Individuals, businesses and non-profits can take advantage of Federal tax credits to help offset the costs of renovation, and provide incentives for doing the job in a respectful way. Most people would be surprised how much leeway and freedom is allowed when renovating a historic building, while still utilizing these tax credits. The understanding that a building must be allowed to function well for modern needs has brought Historic Preservation into the 21st century. It's a growing and technologically advanced industry that brings professional experience and success to preservation projects everywhere.
Historic buildings stand the test of time, remind us of our shared heritage and last long beyond the disposable construction that comes and goes over the years.
Please feel free to contact the Draper Historic Preservation Commission for more information on the Park School or any other concern with historic buildings in Draper.
This Park School Condition and Reuse Report will gather, in one presentation, the information needed to give a true picture of the school, and it's prospects for re-use. Although the DHPC is happy to support and facilitate any public use desired by Draper City and it's citizens, our commission believes it may be best to encourage the private sector to invest in the school. There are successful companies that prefer to locate in historic buildings - they seek out fun and unique surroundings, and recognize that renovation is "greener" than new construction and gives more back to the community - both in civic pride and local investment.
CLICK HERE TO READ THE HISTORY OF THE PARK SCHOOL
READ ABOUT NEW TECHNOLOGIES/SUSTAINABILITY IN PRESERVATION
|This photo (before bad windows, sad additions and AC units) makes it a bit easier to envision a renovated Park School.|