EVANSTON — Two new faces will join the administrative team of Uinta County School District No.1 for the 2022-23 school year after contracts were approved at the regular UCSD No. 1 board meeting on Tuesday, April 12. Brad Francis, currently an English teacher at Evanston High School, will step into the role of principal at Uinta Meadows Elementary next school year after current principal Jerrod Dastrup’s resignation, which is effective at the completion of the current academic year.
In addition, Travis Fackrell will join the district as transportation department director following the retirement of long-time director George Dickerson. Fackrell is currently head mechanic for the Tooele County School District in Utah.
The board continued to move forward with the process of providing more opportunities for district students participating in activities. Trustees got an update on the renovation of the football field and track at Evanston High School. Superintendent Ryan Thomas said the project is moving along very well and he believes it will be completed for the $3 million the board authorized previously, if not somewhat less than that.
Local company Searle Bros. has been working to move massive amounts of earth to prepare the location for the installation of the new track and turf field, which will be larger to allow for home soccer games and more usage opportunities. Board member David Peterson spoke of his deep appreciation for the Searle family for donating the time and resources to do the dirt work, noting that somewhere between $200,000-250,000 worth of work is being donated for the betterment of the community and the benefit of local kids. Thomas also spoke of the district’s appreciation for Cardwell, owned by Gordon Moore, for donating several thousand dollars’ worth of fuel to run the equipment.
Thomas and activities director Bubba O’Neill said they’re thrilled with the progress being made thus far and hopeful the project will continue to move along at a similar pace and be completed on schedule, which would be at the start of the next school year. In fact, if the project is finished on schedule, the first home event to take place on the new field would be the EHS Homecoming on Sept. 23.
The field and track will be completed with funds allocated during the 2021-22 fiscal year; however, the plan is to renovate the press box and expand the stadium seating during the next school year. Trustees agreed they were all very impressed with the progress thus far, with Peterson noting it has gone from conception to execution in well under a year.
In addition, the board approved the expenditure of up to $200,000 to purchase three used domes from a contractor in Utah, which were previously utilized at BYU during the height of the COVID pandemic. One dome is 90 feet wide, 133 feet long and 33 feet high, while the other two are 88 feet wide, 144 feet long and 31 feet high.
Thomas and O’Neill explained that BYU no longer needed them and purchasing them used would save a significant amount of money, providing an opportunity to further expand facilities for students. For example, students who play spring sports could utilize domed areas when the weather won’t allow for regular outdoor practice. They could also be utilized for volleyball, basketball, cheer, dance and other activities throughout the year.
The domes require a concrete foundation, so there would be expenses in addition to the cost of the domes themselves, which Thomas and O’Neill estimated would be about $150,000 for each. However, Thomas said ESSER COVID relief funds could be utilized to help offset some of the costs for the domes themselves.
The domes would include a generator and lighting, as well as heating and cooling equipment. O’Neill said he has done some research and the domes in question appear to be very durable and sturdy.
Thomas said he doesn’t think the district actually needs all three domes and O’Neill agreed; however, as the $200,000 price was for all three trustees opted to authorize the purchase all of them. Peterson suggested perhaps one could just be stored and utilized later, which may provide usefulness for a lengthier period of time than the estimated 10-15 years of life for each dome.
O’Neill said there would be costs in addition to the domes and concrete work, as the domes and equipment would need to be transported to Evanston from Utah; however, the contractor who owns them said he would be willing to come to town to oversee the set-up and would also be willing to store them until the district is ready for them.
The plan would be to put two domes at the high school, one over an area near the football field where tennis courts were and another over part of the practice field that isn’t currently utilized. Trustees discussed the possibility of perhaps trying to obtain recycled turf to put down in one to allow for an indoor playing field.
Thomas said he realizes the purchase may be a risk. “Is this a potential risk? Yeah,” he said, noting that the district asked just last year for voters to approve bonding for a field house and voters rejected the idea. “If we can find this kind of space for roughly $75,000 for the structure and $150,000 for concrete, so $250,000, but roughly $75,000 is paid for by the ESSER grant, that may be a risk worth taking.” O’Neill said there was “no question” the spaces created by the domes would be used “nonstop.”
Thomas also spoke to trustees about an RFP that will be issued requesting proposals for an athletic trainer for the 2022-23 school year. Proposals will be accepted beginning May 15 and the district could extend a contract anytime after June 1. According to Thomas, the intent is to have the opportunity open to anyone who wants to be considered and who is able to provide a full-time on-site athletic trainer at the high school. Exact details of what the district is looking for are contained in the RFP itself.
UCSD No. 1 attorney Geoff Phillips then spoke with the board about what he called a fun bit of legal work. Phillips said Dan Wheeler had approached him about possibly obtaining a trademark for the district EHS logo — an E with a trident for one leg that was developed in 2008. Phillips said he had never before considered the possibility of trademarking the logo but believes it would be a good idea, especially because at one point in the past the district was told to stop using an older devil logo because of a similarity to another trademarked devil logo.
To prevent unauthorized usage of the logo, as well as to prevent anyone else trademarking a similar logo that would then force the district to stop utilizing this one, and to perhaps receive some financial benefit from use of the logo, Phillips said he was in favor of the idea. He himself is not a trademark lawyer, which he said is a very specialized practice; however, he has contacts with a trademark law firm from Utah, Intellectual Strategies, which could file the appropriate forms to trademark the logo for $3,000 plus fees. Phillips said he would try to arrange for a representative from that firm to present to the board at the May meeting.