OGDEN — Second time's a charm, or least it looks like it will be, for the Ogden School District.
After a similar measure failed in 2017, Tuesday night's early returns indicated that Weber County voters would approve an $87 million bond proposal, paving the way for the school district to upgrade or replace four elementary schools. Horace Mann and T.O. Smith are scheduled to be completely replaced if the bond passes, with Polk Elementary being renovated and an addition built onto Wasatch Elementary.
Construction timelines range between 2019 and 2023.
Taylor Canyon Elementary, located a mile north of Polk, would likely close.
The bond measure garnered about 53 percent of the vote as of about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Rich Nye, superintendent of the school district, expressed his gratitude to the voters of Ogden for their commitment to education.
"It is the obligation of the Ogden School District to provide safe and secure facilities that are conducive to maximizing the teaching and learning process," Nye said in a statement sent to the Standard-Examiner. "We will wait for the final numbers to be posted, but based on the preliminary numbers, the passage of the 2018 school bond will enhance our ability to meet our obligations. Thank you for investing in our community and the Ogden School District."
The OSD approved the proposal in late August and the Ogden City Council and Administration formally threw their support at the bond in October by adopting a joint resolution.
Two groups that lobbied against the district's proposal last year — Ogden Education and the Weber County Heritage Foundation — also publicly supported the 2018 bond.
Voters narrowly rejected the district’s $106.5 million bond last year. That proposal called for the district to demolish and replace Polk Elementary School, a sticking point for many Weber County residents.
Built in 1927, the gothic revival style Polk was designed by renowned Ogden architect Leslie Hodgson, who also designed well-known Ogden landmarks like Ogden High School, Peery's Egyptian Theater, the Ogden Municipal Building and others.
The WCHF says Polk is the longest continuously functioning elementary school in Northern Utah.
The $87 million initiative will require a tax increase, with property taxes on an average valued home of $196,000 going up by about $11.50 per month.
School board races
In Ogden School Board races, incumbent candidates Doug Barker and Joyce Wilson appeared to be on their way to retaining their seats in District 2 and District 7 respectively, while Sunni Wilkinson was well ahead of Iain Hueton for the open District 4 seat. Wilkinson would replace outgoing board President Jeffrey Heiner.
In Weber School Board races, incumbent Paul Widdison appeared to retain his seat in District 4, while Jan Burrell was well ahead of Marcia Geilmann for the open District 2 seat.
Dean Oborn (District 1), Bruce Jardine (District 3) and Janis Christensen (District 6) all ran unopposed.