Provo city declines to buy Provo High

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Provo High School is in need of renovations.

Provo city has decided not to purchase Provo High School.

The sale of the Provo High School property cleared another hurdle on Tuesday night, with the Provo council officially declining to buy it.

When a school district announces that it’s selling a property in an urban area, the city has the first right to buy it, said Brian Jones, council attorney. If it wants, it jumps ahead of all other bidders and gets the property based on an appraisal of fair market value.

So Provo had to either formally waive the right, let a 90-day clock expire on the notice to sell the land — about 60 more days — or buy it.

The city doesn’t have tens of millions of dollars to make the purchase, said Mayor John Curtis, and it has confidence in the school district. “This is an important step in letting them move forward.”

Last fall, the school district announced that it had been approached about selling Provo High, and that it was studying the issue. In 2014, Provo voters approved a $108 million bond that would have, in part, rebuilt the school. The district had just hired an architect, who had met with stakeholders and teachers, studied the current building and done a needs assessment.

Then the Provo school board announced in December that it planned to sell the school property and move Provo High School to 1300 N. Lakeshore Drive, on the west side of the city. The district already owns that land.

District spokesman Caleb Price has said that now there have been multiple offers for the current Provo High on University Avenue. But as part of an agreement with those prospective buyers, the district won’t disclose any information about them, and there’s no deadline for a decision.

The goal date for the Provo High rebuild completion was fall 2018, and that’s still the goal, but nothing is set yet.

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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